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, 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.

ATHNA Offers Free Membership: Join Today

ATHNA Supports Vaccination Mandate for All Healthcare Personnel

As the risk of Covid-19 transmission increases with the spread of the Delta variant, the American Travel Health Nurses Association joins with numerous other U.S. health organizations to support a national policy of mandated immunization for all healthcare personnel. We fully support the announcement of the American Medical Association of July 26, 2021, "AMA in support of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers."

Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice
Officially Launched!

On Saturday, July 17 ATHNA held a successful, and fun, virtual book launch for the recently published first edition of Travel Health Nursing: Scope & Standards of Practice. Members from all four time zones and the UK (!) joined in a Zoom hour of festivities that included commentary from six of the co-authors and a travel health quiz with multiple winners. Members learned about the inspiration for the project, the multi-year creation and validation process, the contents of the text, and most importantly, the value and meaning of this text for every travel health nurse in the United States.

The Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice now:

  • Serves as the legal guideline for the practice of the specialty and will serve as the basis for any malpractice or negligence claims
  • Identifies 17 competencies for the practice of the specialty
  • Provides the foundation for a planned U.S. certification by portfolio
  • Includes a professional development model for the hiring, orientation, training, mentoring, performance review and promotion of travel health nurses
  • Serves as an impetus for adding travel health nursing content to basic and graduate level nursing education
  • Includes a Code of Ethics for the specialty
  • Serves as a focus for travel health nursing research and advocacy initiatives

A slide deck from the event is available here on this website.

We welcome any questions about this important development in our specialty. Write to us at info@athna.org.

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.

Recognition / Standards / Certification

President's Message

Dear Members,

As I am writing this, CDC reports 67.1% of adults in the US have received at least one Covid vaccination. The health care community, including many of our ATHNA members, answered the call when our country needed them during this pandemic. What an incredible undertaking this has been, from the scientific community developing the vaccine quickly, to the government distributing it, and then health care workers getting vaccine into people's arms. Hopefully we can continue to vaccinate those who have been hesitant so that the country can reach herd immunity. We also look forward to approval of vaccine for our vulnerable children under age 12.

Despite the many restrictions and limitations imposed by Covid, I can report that ATHNA continued to meet its mission to support our members and grow our professional specialty. Since we could not gather in person this year, ATHNA offered its NED event virtually as 3 different Zoom events. Topics were Rabies, Telehealth, & Medical Tourism. Participation was free to ATHNA members, and CE was optional for $20.00. We hope to have these events archived on the website later this summer and plan to continue the series in the fall.

ATHNA held its Annual Board Meeting virtually in June. We said good- bye to the following four Board members who stepped off the Board: Cindy Frank, Leslie Gannon, Kevin Long, & Secretary Diane McHugh. We sincerely thank them for their service to ATHNA and wish them well!

Our Nominations Committee was diligent during the early months of the year and produced a slate of seven excellent director candidates. The Board unanimously elected them in June and now we welcome the following Directors: Jane Chiodini, Susan Cruz, Tammy Degenhardt, Annie Horton, Amy Becker Manion, Linda Sapio-Longo, & Maureen Thompson. In August we will share their photos and bios here on the homepage.

This continues to be an exciting time for ATHNA. In a joint effort with ANA, we co-published Travel Health Nursing - Scope and Standards of Practice, 1st Edition (2021). To celebrate this long awaited milestone, we have scheduled a Virtual Book Launch for our members on Saturday, July 17 at 11 AM ET. We hope to see you at this special Zoom event, but if you cannot make it, please consider purchasing the book for your clinic. This Scope & Standards is now the legal foundation for our specialty in the United States and a great text to help with staff orientation, training, performance reviews, and promotions.
www.nursingworld.org/nurses-books/travel-health-nursing-scope-and-standards

Our next BIG initiative will be to explore the path to U.S. certification for travel health nurses. This will be a portfolio-, not exam-, based certification equal to all other U.S. nursing certifications. You can hear more about this major effort during our July 17th Virtual Book Launch.

In recent months, it has been wonderful to finally gather again with other vaccinated family and friends; however, we are not out of the woods yet, as highly contagious variants spread among the unvaccinated. As nurses, your patients, and the public look to you for guidance, so please continue to encourage vaccination whenever you can.

Enjoy the summer!

Stay safe and healthy,
Sandy Weinberg, Interim ATHNA President
July 2021

Announcements

Fall Courses and Conferences

September 1, 2021

"Covid Vaccines: What we know and do not know"

Webinar offered by the Asia Pacific Travel Health Society.

TravelByte #39: Anticipating the Unexpected: Responding to In- Flight Medical Emergencies

Have you ever volunteered to help during an in-flight medical emergency (IME)? Not long ago I was called upon to assist during an international flight from NYC to Santo Domingo DR. I was the only health professional who responded to the crew call, and while everything turned out just fine, I was dismayed at the lack of emergency protocols, equipment, and supplies on this U.S. carrier...

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.

Updating Your Immunization Skills / Administering Adult IM Injections

In conjunction with ATHNA's Vaccinator Clearinghouse Initiative, we share these excellent resources for any clinician who wants to update/ refresh their vaccine administration skills. The currently available Covid-19 vaccines are both delivered via the intramuscular route in adults.

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.

Lessons from the Church

By now we all know that conquering this pandemic will "take a village" and in Westchester County, NY organizations are encouraging good Covid-19 practices with a variety of different messages. One local church shared their message about continued mask use this way...

Immunization Action Coalition

The current issue of the Immunization Action Coalition IAC Express is an Ask the Experts Special Edition devoted to questions about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.Do you have a question about these vaccines? Chances are very good that the IAC expert panel will address your concern and provide an explanation that you can share with your travelers.