U.S. Army Capt. Bryan Ferrara, RN, who managed the vaccination of roughly 4,000 Army soldiers against numerous transmittable diseases for a 1-year deployment to Iraq, has been named the American Nurses Association (ANA) Immunity Award winner for February 2011.
Ferrara, the only nurse for the Army's 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based at Biggs Field in Fort Bliss, TX, oversaw the immunization of more than 90 percent of the division's personnel for smallpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and anthrax. He also responded to unanticipated situations, such as administering rabies vaccinations for affected personnel.
ANA grants the national Immunity Award monthly as part of its Bringing Immunity to Every Community project. ANA is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the project, which focuses on maximizing nurses' role in increasing vaccination rates and reducing incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases. The project seeks to increase nurses' knowledge and competency in immunization, encourage nurses to be vaccinated, and position nurses as leading advocates for immunization among peers, patients, and the public.
In addition to protecting troops against vaccine-preventable diseases while overseas, Ferrara is instrumental in keeping brigade members healthy and preventing the spread of illness while training at their base. He coordinates the influenza immunization campaign, vaccinating nearly 3,700 soldiers.
RNs can apply for the ANA Immunity Award, either through self-nomination or nomination by a peer, online through Bringing Immunity to Every Community's website, a one-stop shop for resources nurses need to be competent, educated advocates for immunizations. Ferrara is the sixth winner of the award.