Boston Medical Center Nursing Director and Endicott College School of Nursing graduate student Tami Chase recognized that fear of COVID-19 was leading to a dangerous drop in child vaccine rates as parents avoided routine doctor’s visits. Knowing this dramatic decrease in vaccinations would put countless children at risk of exposure to preventable deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough, she decided to do something about it.
Chase, a student in the Master of Science in Nursing Administration program, created a way to deliver pediatric medical services to Boston-area children whose parents have been reticent about bringing them to doctors' offices for vaccinations and other care during the pandemic.
In a response to the Massachusetts’ stay-at-home advisory, Chase worked with the Division Chief of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center to set up two alternative care delivery models that are now fully operational.
The first is a Pediatric Primary Care Mobile Care Unit that makes home visits to patients and families—an ambulance that carries all the necessary equipment and medicine needed to treat most outpatient cases involving children.
The second is an operationalized tent outside Boston Medical Center's South End campus that mirrors a large pediatric exam room. Meant to accommodate patients farther from Boston proper, anyone in need of medical services for their children can drive to this location for care.
“This has been a dream of mine and a check on my nursing career bucket list,” says Chase. “I have always wanted to deliver care that meets the needs of our most vulnerable patient populations. We have also been able to boost the morale of our staff while providing important connections of care and vaccinations for our patients.”
This initiative represents the kind of leadership-level thinking that Endicott’s Master of Science in Nursing Administration promotes. The program allows students to better prepare for opportunities at supervisory and executive levels by focusing curricula on administration and management; delivery of patient care; and legal, regulatory, and ethical issues, as well as health care economics.
“We're so proud of Tami and her colleagues for taking this important step and having resilience while facing the challenge of balancing school work and family during these unprecedented times,” said Director of the Master's Nursing Program Donna Begin, DNP, RN, NE-BC. “It’s critical for parents and children to be up to date on their vaccinations and to have accessible care. These units are answering that need during a time when children would not otherwise have the opportunity to receive attention.”
Chase’s efforts have been featured in The New York Times and the Boston Globe, and on Boston radio station WBUR.
“While we are working to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” said Chase, “this effort minimizes the chance that children will develop other dangerous conditions like measles, mumps, tetanus, and whooping cough while providing the important protection of herd immunity within our communities.”