AMERICAN TRAVEL HEALTH NURSES ASSOCIATION
The American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA) is the professional organization for the specialty of travel health nursing in North America. Founded in 2004, ATHNA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit incorporated in New York. With nearly 3000 members across the United States and internationally, ATHNA is committed to professional development, networking, research, and advocacy in travel health nursing.
Our Mission Statement
It is the mission of the American Travel Health Nurses Association to advance nurses engaged in the care of all travelers- both domestic and international- through professional development, evidence-based practice, and advocacy.
The Specialty of Travel Health Nursing
Recognized by the American Nurses Association in 2020 as a nursing specialty, travel health nursing specializes in advancing the well-being of all travelers who travel both domestically and internationally. We provide care for individuals, families, and groups through all stages of travel including pre-travel preparation, in transit support, and post travel evaluation and management. Travel health nurses practice in a variety of settings that include private travel health clinics, universities, corporations, the military, public health centers, and community clinics. As clinicians, travel health nursing professionals are specially educated and trained to assess traveler health and safety risks and to provide risk management strategies that include immunizations, medications, health counseling, and referrals. Travel health nurses also function as researchers, faculty members, consultants to business and governments, entrepreneurs, and nursing leaders in this country and internationally.
Travel health nursing is not to be mistaken for the "travel nurse." That individual travels to provide temporary, traditional nursing care throughout the US where facility staffing needs are high and supplemental staffing is needed during times of peak capacity.
ATHNA Offers Free Membership.
President's Message Fall 2022
As the leaves have fallen here in the Northeast, cooler weather is upon us and the holiday season is here. It is flu clinic season and Covid-19 booster clinic season, so we know that many of our members are extremely busy this time of year. That's why we want to make sure that you are aware of the many helpful sections of the ATHNA website. If you have not already checked out the Educational Resource, it is a must see! There is a wealth of educational material in an interesting format designed to make learning fun and not rote. We continue to provide updated information in a shorter format through our blog, Travel Bytes. If any of our members are interested in writing, we are always looking for contributions to these features and the website.
Please explore our updated members-only content. In the expanded Membership Portal look for regular additions of clinic tools i.e., forms that may be useful in your practice; a listing of travel health courses and conferences; a career center for employers to post jobs and members who are seeking employment; and a printable membership certificate to hang in your office. A travel health nursing glossary and model core curriculum for our specialty can be found there as well. And if you are a new member, we have added a New Member Checklist to help you benefit from all that ATHNA has to offer.
As we finish the Thanksgiving leftovers and get ready to enjoy the December holidays, we are adding our final Educational Resource content for 2022. This month we remind everyone about the serious impact of motor vehicle accidents and ways to reduce that #1 cause of morbidity and mortality in healthy travelers. We also share a template for a Contact Card- something every traveler should carry just in case of an emergency “on the road.” We hope you will find this new content helpful as you prepare travelers for both domestic and international trips. We want to remind you that content for all of 2022 is archived. If you have any free time over the winter holidays, why not give this newest ATHNA website feature a second look? Maybe you have not had an opportunity to read some of the topics posted earlier in the year. Keeping current is always a challenge for our professional specialty! Here is a recap of some of the earlier content you may have missed. And a brief description of what we have most recently added:
- January: An Update on SIRVA. Know what this is? How to prevent it? As we inoculate against monkeypox and await another Covid booster, knowing how to prevent this injection injury is important for you and your patient.
- February: Are you prescribing more Tafenoquine? Then you need to know everything about G6PD deficiency. We covered that topic during the dead of winter (hard to imagine we would love a dose of that cold air right now).
- March: Counseling travelers to prevent pregnancy? When first posted four months ago, this contraception content, provided by Director Julie Richards, was important. In light of SCOTUS and the Dobbs decision, this topic is even more critical as we counsel our travelers to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- April: Are you up to date on ACIP guidance for Hepatitis B, Shingles, and the Pneumococcal vaccines? Guidelines are always changing, it seems. Read the latest guidance and also learn about two terrific vaccine resources recently revised.
- May: Travel health terminology is always growing. Can you define NTDs? What about fami/lymoon? Gramping? Screen tourism? And because this is the "sun season," take a moment, to quickly learn the 5 W's and one H of sun protection. Help your travelers prevent sunburn and skin cancer as they head off to the shore or islands in July and August.
- June: During Pride Month we featured content on the LGBTQ+ traveler, but this population travels year- round. Learn some tips for promoting a safe and healthy journey. And since monkeypox is now a designated WHO global emergency, add these resources to the excellent ones already listed in the June content- Washington Post Monkeypox article and the WHO monkeypox factsheet.
- July/August: Time Out for the editors and a good time for our members to catch up on missed content...
- September: With the recently announced intradermal administration guidelines for monkeypox vaccine, we offer some training resources if you need an ID refresher. As a second feature, we revisit vaccine vial expiration dates and beyond use dates- they’re not the same! Finally, we have posted a presentation on FGM and hope you will take the time to learn about this international travel health risk for girls and young women in more than 30 nations.
- October: Comfortable giving simultaneous vaccinations in one clinic visit? After reading this month’s content, we hope compliance with this ACIP best practice will become second nature. And if you are challenged to know if your traveler really understood how to self-administer oral typhoid vaccine or how to choose safer food and beverages, we think you will find the health literacy tools very helpful.
- November / December: So much of our pretravel visit time is spent addressing infectious disease. And while that topic is certainly important, nothing poses a greater risk to the health and safety of our travelers than motor vehicle accidents. We update a 2016 blog posting on a topic too important to overlook when preparing your travelers for their journeys. And we share an ATHNA template for a Contact Card to give to your patients.
We wish all travel health nurses a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season-
Gail Rosselot and Jane Chiodini
For quick access to Educational Resource, go to:
Zero By 30
World Rabies Day was celebrated on September 28th this year, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about the world's deadliest infectious disease. World Rabies Day is an annual opportunity to bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide and to reflect on how rabies impacts communities around the world.
World Rabies Day also marks the death anniversary of French biologist, microbiologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur, who developed the first rabies vaccine in 1885. According to the CDC, while rabies is a 100 percent preventable disease, nearly 60,000 people die from this viral infection around the world each year.
According to WHO, "The world has the vaccines, medicines, tools, and technologies to break the cycle of one of the oldest diseases.” Most rabies deaths around the world are caused by dog bites (CDC, Yellow Book 2020). Zero by 30 is the WHO Global Strategic Plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.
Travel health nurses have opportunities every day to educate the public about this deadly infection and to protect our travelers with avoidance education and immunization. Starting in first quarter 2023, through a Bavarian Nordic support grant, ATHNA will offer a FREE, CE accredited, educational activity to support the Zero By 30 campaign. It will be offered on- demand and will provide nursing professionals in diverse clinical settings with up-to-date prevention guidance for their international travelers.
The long- awaited change in the rabies PrEP vaccination schedule is now official!
On May 5, CDC published the new recommendation in the MMWR. This was the final step necessary to make this shortened 2 dose schedule the US standard for pretravel immunization against rabies. We encourage nurses to read the publication in its entirety. In the fall, ATHNA plans to offer educational offerings to raise rabies awareness among all nursing professionals, understand how to administer rabies vaccine according to the latest ACIP guidelines, utilize a checklist to counsel behavioral prevention measures, and address FAQs about the updated vaccination guidelines. Remember: always educate your patients to avoid direct contact with mammals.
Use of a Modified Preexposure Prophylaxis Vaccination Schedule to Prevent Human Rabies: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, 2022
Members Only Portal
In addition to the updated content offered on our homepage, we are now expanding content for our members available only on the Membership Portal. Not yet a member? Join today- we offer free membership and welcome your participation in the US professional organization for the specialty of travel health nursing.
What does the Membership Portal Offer?
Travel Health Knowledge and Skills
Travel health nurses can access foundational information for the practice of our specialty.
Forms Archive: Every month, ATHNA will add one new form, checklist or clinical tool to the membership portal of this website. In September it was a template for a pretravel assessment questionnaire. Now we add a screening tool for yellow fever vaccination. Members will want to adapt these documents to their own practice settings and travel populations and review and revise prn at least every 6 months.
Courses and Conferences
An expanded listing of national and international courses and conferences can now be found within the membership portal.
Members are welcome to post open positions or announce their availability for travel health nursing employment.
TravelBytes #42 and #43: Important to Know Resources
This month ATHNA is posting not one but two new TravelBytes, both focused on excellent resources for nursing professionals. Julie Richards, DNP and former ATHNA President shares her thoughts about the value of the newly revised edition of The Pink Book. Mette Riis, current ATHNA Treasurer brings to your attention a community resource that has gained international attention since the start of the Covid pandemic.
TravelByte #42: Trying to Catch Up on non-COVID Concerns? Get Your Bearings with the New Pink Book Webinar Series.
I'm going to cut to the chase here. There are many good reasons to review the latest version of this reliable CDC resource, but this time around, it is imperative. There's a lot of brand new but essential content. The series also provides a fresh look at much of the older content based on the latest research and innovations. These webinars make up the building blocks on which much of your other knowledge depends and are a foundational course for anyone working with vaccines including all travel health nurses. Hence, we strongly recommend you set aside time to view the webinars and get up to speed. As usual, the entire series is free of charge, with continuing education credit as a bonus.
TravelByte #43: Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)
Translating public health science for everyday use
A must-read newsletter for Travel Health Nurses
Dr. Katelyn Jetelina is the world-renowned founder and author of the newsletter YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST (YLE). Dr. Jetelina is a scientist, epidemiologist and educator. Not only does she work as assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health but is the mother of two toddlers and in her "free time" writes this newsletter!
ATHNA Speaks Out: Intradermal Administration Skills
As part of ATHNA's ongoing commitment to advocacy for travelers, our specialty and the public health, the following letter was sent to CDC in August when monkeypox vaccine was approved for intradermal administration. ATHNA received a prompt reply thanking us for our commitment to professional education and quality care. To learn more about intradermal administration, go to the September offering in Educational Resources.>p?
To the CDC
On behalf of the American Travel Health Nurses Association, we are writing to share our concerns that most health care workers are not adequately trained or experienced to properly provide intradermal (ID) administration of the monkeypox vaccine. This injection technique is known to require special skill and practice. Clinicians providing TB testing or allergy testing may be familiar with ID administration, but many others are ill prepared to deliver any vaccine safely and effectively in this manner.
We are concerned that patients receiving an improperly administered ID dose of monkeypox vaccine may unfortunately learn, at some later date, that their vaccination was invalid, and a repeat dose is required. This would then further deplete the already limited monkeypox vaccine supply; it could also undermine the public's confidence not only in this vaccine, but in vaccination practices in general.
We ask that CDC alert all monkeypox vaccine providers of the need to confirm that proper ID technique is followed in their immunization clinics and to initiate training programs as may be required.
ATHNA appreciates HHS and CDC efforts to expand the current use of monkeypox vaccine. Our professional organization is a strong supporter of vaccination as a powerful weapon against the spread of infectious disease. If CDC already has a plan to offer specific training regarding ID administration, please let us know how we can assist in disseminating any content as a CDC partner.
On behalf of the American Travel Health Nurses Association
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