Nurse Who Vaccinated President-Elect Joe Biden Says, "It Was an Honor"
President-Elect Joe Biden is about to become the most important person in the United States, but he’s still just like every other at-risk individual in the country in need of a COVID-19 vaccine. So who would be up for the challenge of injecting the soon-to-be leader of the free world?
A nurse, of course.
Director of Employee Health Services at ChristianaCare in Delaware, Tabe Mase, FNP-C, MSN, MJ, CHC, COHN-S, sat down with Nurse Alice of Nurse.org on our digital live-stream, Nurse News Now, to share her experience of vaccinating Biden and her views on why nurses are so vital to leading and paving the way in the vaccination efforts against the novel coronavirus.
Also, just a tip: you can watch the video of Mase actually vaccinating Biden and she looks as cool as a cucumber with that needle––she’s a wonderful example of the poise and professionalism of nurses everywhere, no matter who they are caring for.
“A Nod to Nurses”
So just how did they decide on who would be the one to vaccinate the President-Elect? Mase explained to Nurse Alice that as the Director of Employee Health with ChristianaCare, she was part of the crucial planning team that decided how to coordinate and organize the vaccination efforts. Being chosen to vaccinate President Biden, Mase said, was both an honor for herself personally as well as a “nod to nurses.”
As Nurse Alice noted, the efforts to mobilize the vaccination plans across the nation have largely been organized by nurses just like Mase, much like much of the frontline care given to the patients who have been infected by COVID-19. And behind the quick jab that the public witnessed was an enormous effort by nurses and other healthcare professionals that continues each and every day through this pandemic. Those efforts may not get as much attention as the President-Elect getting vaccinated, but they are successfully ensuring that the vaccine, as Mase dubs it, into the arms of the people who need it. And thanks to those behind-the-scenes movements, it’s only fitting that a nurse would be the one chosen to vaccinate one of the world’s most public figures.
Preparing Biden For His Vaccine
And like the true professional Mase is, she informed Nurse Alice that she prepared Biden for his vaccination just as she prepares all of the people she serves––he received the same level of care. Mase explained that she went through the normal process for vaccinating a patient,
- They discussed Biden’s consent to the vaccine
- She screened him with the vaccine questionnaire that assesses possible complications or contraindications
- She performed patient education, along with a discussion on the V-safe program that can help anyone report any adverse reactions and receive weekly health check-ins
Mase added that she also always asks her patients if they are ready and if they want her to count to three before sticking them (Biden declined.) “It’s just so we’re on the same page,” she explained. “I do that for everyone.”
Mase’s Message to RNs: “We Have to Trust It First”
Mase also stressed the importance of nurses paving the way for the public to gain knowledge and trust about the vaccine. She explained that it’s crucial that the nurses who have seen what this virus is capable of assuring any hesitant public that the vaccine simply cannot be worse than what COVID can cause. Mase also pointed out how it’s an essential role of the nurse to translate sometimes complicated medical jargon and information into layman’s terms. And yet, nurses on the frontlines of this pandemic are busy enough just trying to keep up with their own patients and lives.
“It’s hard enough to show up to work every day, to finish your shift, run home and take care of your family, let alone try to study something totally understood,” Mase noted. She encouraged nurses to speak with their employee health or in-house infection prevention departments, if available, or to partner up with another system in their local areas, such as a larger hospital or health system to ensure they can get their questions about the vaccine answered. “Until we understand it, we can’t break it down,” she pointed out.
As a nurse practitioner herself, Mase encouraged nurses to get the education they need in order to feel comfortable about the vaccine so that they can then educate their patients and the public as well. “We have to believe in it first,” she noted. “We have to trust it first.”
Nurse Alice and Mase also discussed the importance of acknowledging the difficult history that people of color may have with vaccines that could lead to a current mistrust. “Let’s meet people where they are,” Mase said, adding that nurses should strive to get involved in their communities to help build a public presence and allow patients to feel more comfortable to get all of their concerns addressed.
The two nurses ended their discussion by reminding all nurses involved in the fight against this pandemic of the importance of caring for themselves too, whether that’s in getting the vaccine to protect their own health or simply taking a moment for self-care. “Nurses...we can be our best champions,” Mase summed up. “We can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Watch Nurse News Now
Nurse News Now is a weekly live stream on Nurse.org’s social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) featuring discussions led by our host, Nurse Alice, about trending topics that matter most to nurses. The live stream takes place every Tuesday at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST
All previous episodes are shared on the Nurse News Now webpage.
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