The American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA) is the professional organization for travel health nurses in North America. ATHNA is committed to professional development, networking, research and advocacy in the specialty of travel health nursing. We offer our members resources for travel health clinics, CE programs, a unique, regional conference day, monthly updates, regional contacts, and much more...

Mission Statement

It is the mission of ATHNA to advance nurses engaged in the care of all travelers- both domestic and international- through professional development, evidence-based practice and advocacy.

The Specialty

The travel health nursing professional, not to be mistaken for the "travel nurse," is an official ANA recognized nursing specialty. Travel health nursing is defined as "the specialized nursing practice that advances the well-being of all travelers, both domestic and international, in all phases/stages of travel and in all clinical settings." Travel health nurses provide travelers with pre-travel preparation, in transit support, and post- travel evaluation and management as may be needed. By contrast, travel nurses move around the country and supplement staffing at various hospitals during times of peak capacity.

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Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice Prepare for the Return of Travel in 2022

Earlier this year ATHNA and ANA jointly published the first edition of Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. Serving as the professional and legal standard for the practice of our specialty in all US healthcare settings, this text offers:

  • Guidelines for the practice of the specialty that will serve as the basis for malpractice or negligence claims
  • Seventeen competencies for the practice of the specialty
  • The foundation for a planned U.S. nursing certification- by- portfolio equivalent to other US nursing specialty certifications
  • A professional development model for the hiring, orientation, training, mentoring, performance review and promotion of travel health nurses
  • A rationale and foundation for adding travel health nursing content to basic and graduate level nursing education
  • The first Code of Ethics for the specialty
  • A foundation and focus for future travel health nursing research and advocacy initiatives

Alert your colleagues and program administrators about this essential text and add a copy to your professional library. As we all know, travel health nursing is a lot more than just shots...

Copies of the text can be purchased from the ANA publication site www.nursingworld.org/nurses-books/travel-health-nursing-scope-and-standards. Orders of 20 or more copies are discounted.

Travel Health Nursing in the 21st Century: Recognition / Standards / Certification

ATHNA Elects Seven New Directors!

ATHNA is excited to announce the election of seven new directors to its Board for the term 2021-2023. Representing varied clinical settings, these accomplished travel health nurses are a diverse group from across the country as well as the United Kingdom. Working in college health, occupational health, various outpatient settings, academia, and research, our new directors bring a passion for the specialty and extensive professional expertise. We are excited for the contributions these new directors will make as international travel resumes and ATHNA continues to support its more than 2800 members.

We are proud to introduce Susan Cruz from Maine, Amy Manion from Ohio, Linda Sapio-Longo from Connecticut, Annie Horton from San Diego, Maureen Thompson from Massachusetts, Tammy Degenhardt from Wisconsin and Jane Chiodini from the UK. Read their profiles and get to know our newest directors.

More

To Our Members:
As the current health crisis starts to wane in this country, the traveling public and the U.S. travel health nursing community are eager for international travel to fully resume. At the same time, travel health nurses are wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect trip planning and traveler concerns about future journeys. This spring, ATHNA was given the opportunity to review data from one consumer survey commissioned by Emergent BioSolutions that sheds some light on traveler opinion on these topics. We share this Bulletin to alert our members about this data set and similar surveys now commissioned as more Americans get vaccinated and international bookings increase. As with all studies, there are some limitations in the design of this survey that impact broader generalization of the data. That said, the opinions expressed by the questionnaire respondents can provide valuable insight into how individuals now view their personal health and safety while traveling. In coming months, as you prepare your patients for world trips, and as you interact with travel and tourism stakeholders, we hope you may find the information in this Bulletin useful for your practice...

Announcements

TravelByte #40: CDC Malaria Surveillance Update

Editor's Note: This month Julie Richards shares a synopsis and commentary on some of the key data from the recent CDC malaria surveillance report (March 2021). Annually, CDC publishes a report in the MMWR that shares recent and comprehensive malaria data available for U.S. travelers. The report is an excellent review and update on malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment in the U.S. and should be required reading for any travel health nurse who counsels patients about malaria pre- or post- travel. ...

Support U.S. Certification for Travel Health Nurses

With the 2020 official recognition of travel health nursing by the ANA and now the publication of the foundational text for our specialty, Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 1st edition, the ATHNA Board of Directors is ready to achieve its next goal for our profession: the achievement of U.S. certification.

As many of you know, there is currently no professional nursing certification for travel health nursing in the United States. Unlike other specialties- occupational health nursing, oncology nursing, ambulatory nursing and the like- travel health nurses have not established an equivalent national certification. Lacking a U.S. specialty credential, some nurses have undertaken international or interdisciplinary certificates and courses to demonstrate professional achievement. However, none of these are specific to professional nursing, nor do they confirm knowledge of U.S. standards of care. Acceptance of these alternatives by employers and academic institutions is mixed at best.

Now that our specialty has obtained formal recognition in this country, we can proceed to establish a U.S. certification that adheres to the eligibility and renewal criteria consistent with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). We can achieve equal standing with other U.S. nursing specialties.

ATHNA envisions a certification process that will feature a professional portfolio rather than an examination and we have already initiated contact with organizations that can help us achieve this goal in 2022.

But we need your financial support! As you know, during this pandemic crisis, ATHNA has waived all membership dues. We know how Covid-19 has affected so many of you. However, the process for creating a legally recognized professional certification has a cost.

Please consider making a donation today to ATHNA's Certification Fund. As a 501(c) (3) organization, your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. No amount is too little. And every donation will help us towards this important, final professional goal.

Recognition Standards Certification
2020 2021 2022

Thank you!

ATHNA is tax-exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the US Internal Revenue Service and is registered with the NY State Charities Bureau.

During This Flu Season, Don't Get Mixed-Up

In the current issue of Immunization Action Coalition's IAC Express # 1, 594 we are alerted to a recognized vaccine safety issue now that vaccines for both influenza and Covid-19 are available for co-administration. CDC is receiving reports that clinicians are making various administration errors such as patients receiving a 2021-2022 flu vaccination instead of a Covid vaccine or patients receiving two doses of Covid vaccine instead of one dose of flu and another of Covid, etc.

In a busy clinic, errors like these can occur, so the Institute for Safe Medication Practices has issued a report that recommends implementing these safety strategies to avoid errors:

  • Provide staffing support
  • Separate vaccination areas
  • Label the syringes
  • Separate the vaccines
  • Identify the patient and requested vaccine
  • Involve the patient/parent in the checking process
  • Document lot number/expiration date
  • Scan the barcode
  • Provide the intended vaccine
  • Report vaccine errors

Travel health nurses (THNs) are encouraged to read the full report Mix-Ups Between the Influenza (Flu) Vaccine and COVID-19 Vaccines in the October 7 issue of Medication Safety Alert.

And ATHNA recommends that every THN subscribe to IAC Express for free, weekly immunization updates:

Book Review: Do You Provide Health Services to College Students?

Not sure how to prepare study abroad students? Wondering about resources for students with anxiety or eating disorders? Looking for new ways to fund student health services?

Whether you practice within a college health service or care for college students in another setting, the newly published Principles and Practice of College Health is a worthwhile guide for delivering comprehensive quality health services to this population. Just released by Springer, this important text is edited by John A. Vaughn, M.D., Director of Student Health at Duke University since 2013 and Anthony J. Viera, M.D., Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Duke.

A Seismic Shift in US Travel Health Nursing: The Achievement of Specialty Recognition and its Implications

Richards JA, Rosselot GA
J Travel Med, Volume 28, Issue 1, 2021, taaa202
https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taaa202

Past Presidents Julie Richards and Gail Rosselot recently published an article in the Journal of Travel Medicine about the implications of ANA specialty recognition for Travel Health Nursing here in the US. The Perspectives piece is timed to coincide with the soon to be published Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. According to Julie, "We believe specialty recognition will go a long way to recognize travel health nursing professionalism and promote quality care for travelers and the communities they impact. We hope travel health professionals in all 50 states can benefit." The article details the process for specialty recognition and its benefits, including the opportunity now to establish a U.S. certification for travel health nurses comparable to other U.S. nursing certifications.

ATHNA will feature an article on this website introducing the new Scope & Standards when they become available early in 2021.