Thanks To a Navy Nurse

When U.S. Navy and other military personnel are deployed overseas they can thank Immunization Nurse Specialist Stephen W. Dolak, BSN, BSEd, RN for protecting them against vaccine-preventable diseases. His initiatives have dramatically improved the immunization program at the U.S. Navy’s Fisher Branch Health Clinic and this has earned Stephen Dolak the American Nurses Association (ANA) Immunity Award for June 2011.

Dolak has been an immunization specialist since 2008 at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. He 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 one facility. Since Dolak came to the facility, he advocated for a redesign of the immunizations facility on the base that will allow for 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 improved the vaccine program to protect against yellow fever while also devising a plan to reduce the waste of multi-dose vials of the vaccine. While monitoring the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) immunization recommendations, Dolak implemented a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program for males. Previously, this vaccine had only been given to female Navy recruits. Dolak’s supervisor, Gregory Kaftan, MD, states, “He has demonstrated clear leadership in promoting comprehensive immunization programs that stay in step with the ever-changing vaccination guidelines and schedules.”

The ANA grants the national Immunity Award monthly as part of its Bringing Immunity to Every Community project. In fact the ANA and the CDC are collaborating on the project which focuses on maximizing the nurses’ role in increasing vaccination rates while reducing the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases.

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