Navy Nurse Protects Military Personnel From Disease Threats Around The World
Stephen W. Dolak Earns ANA Immunity Award
Silver Spring, MD - When U.S. Navy and other military service personnel at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois are deployed overseas, they can thank Immunization Nurse Specialist Stephen W. Dolak, BSN, BSEd, RN, for protecting them against vaccine-preventable diseases that are prevalent worldwide or endemic to certain lands. For his initiatives that dramatically improved the immunization program at the U.S. Navy's Fisher Branch Health Clinic, Stephen W. Dolak has earned the American Nurses Association (ANA) Immunity Award for June 2011.
An immunization nurse specialist since 2008 at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, Dolak has specialized in identifying problems with vaccine administration and implementing changes to improve immunization rates, efficiency and service standards. The Lovell Center represents the first collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create a Federal Health Care System in a single facility.
Dolak's supervisor, Gregory Kaftan, MD, division officer of the Lovell Center's occupational health medicine department, credits him for bringing "energy to a program that had languished."
"He has demonstrated clear leadership in promoting comprehensive immunizations programs that stay in step with the ever-changing vaccination guidelines and schedules," Dr. Kaftan said. "His collaboration with his colleagues has greatly improved the immunization practice. The U.S. Navy and the VA are lucky to have a nurse of his caliber and energy constantly pushing for the use of the state-of-the-art thinking in vaccinations on behalf of our sailors, retirees, civilians and active duty personnel."
Upon his arrival, Dolak (LCDR, USN/Retired) advocated a redesign of the immunizations facilities on the base that, once completed, allowed the handling of a larger volume of patients. His improvements helped increase the compliance rate for tuberculosis skin test interpretive readings from 60 percent to 95 percent.
Dolak also improved the vaccine program to protect against yellow fever, while also devising a plan to reduce waste of multi-dose vials of the vaccine. Through his monitoring of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) immunization recommendations, Dolak implemented a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program for males. Previously, the vaccine, which prevents certain types of cancer and other illnesses, had been given only to female Navy recruits.
ANA grants the national Immunity Award monthly as part of its Bringing Immunity to Every Community project. ANA and the CDC are collaborating on the project, which focuses on maximizing nurses' role in increasing vaccination rates and reducing incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases.
The project seeks to increase nurses' knowledge and competency in immunization, encourage nurses to be vaccinated, and position nurses as leading advocates for immunization among peers, patients, and the public.
The ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. The ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.
SOURCE: American Nurses Association