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Ellinwood Clinic to offer childhood vaccines, initiated through student doctoral project

The Ellinwood Clinic will be offering childhood vaccines to patients starting in February, thanks in part to Erica Powell, RN, BSN, and Doctor of Nursing Practice student at Fort Hays State University and the Ellinwood Hospital Auxiliary.

Powell has completed numerous clinical hours towards her doctorate degree in the Clinic and has used the Clinic as the basis of her doctoral project, titled “Immunization Implementation in a Rural Health Clinic” with a goal “to improve patient outcomes, practice, and community with the availability of immunizations for children and to access the Kansas web-based immunization record (Kansas WebIZ system). In turn, the increase in patient count/visits and revenue will allow for an increase in the viability of the rural health clinic in the community.” Ellinwood Hospital and Clinic hosts medical students throughout the facilities to assist in training the next generation of healthcare workers.

In addition to planning, coordinating, and implementing this project, Powell and Jamie Miller, RN, Clinic nurse, also secured funding to purchase the necessary equipment. The Ellinwood Hospital Auxiliary generously donated half of the cost for a vaccine refrigerator/freezer combination, and a grant was received through the Kansas Immunization - Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program for the remaining half. The refrigerator has to meet very stringent specifications to be acceptable for the program.

“Between Erica, our employees, and the Auxiliary, it is exciting to work together to improve not only our Clinic and services, but the future of our community, as well,” said Kile Magner, Ellinwood Hospital and Clinic CEO. “We are motivated to help educate and engage medical students so that we ensure the success of our Clinic and Hospital into the future.”

Powell’s project seeks to answer three questions: “In patients 2 months up to 18 years-of-age, does having access to immunizations records and providing immunizations in a rural clinic increase well-child visits, immunization administration, and income for the rural health clinic?” In completion of the project, Powell aims to gather data to perform statistical analyses and report on the results.

Powell lives just outside of Ellinwood with her two young daughters who are the inspiration for her project. “As a nurse and parent of two young children in this rural community, having access to immunizations and the immunization records is important to me and my family,” reports Powell.

Going forward, the Ellinwood Clinic will provide childhood vaccines, in accordance with the recommended schedule to patients, regardless of insurance, meaning that patients can receive the vaccines at the same time as their regular checkups instead of having to schedule another time or going to another facility.

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