Not sure how to talk about Covid-19 vaccines with loved ones? Nurses offer a guide to ‘productive conversations’

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ guide to productive conversations about Covid-19 vaccines

Covid-19 vaccines are likely to be a topic of conversation during the holidays, which could bring tension to family gatherings.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses created a guide to help those who have been vaccinated to engage in constructive conversations with family members and friends who are hesitant about the vaccine. The toolkit is part of AACN’s “Hear Us Out” campaign to report nurses’ reality from the front lines of the pandemic and urge those who are unvaccinated to get a shot.

“Covid-19 is still here. The majority of patients with Covid we’re seeing in ICUs haven’t been vaccinated, and their journey often ends with a nurse holding their hand as they die,” said Beth Wathen, AACN president. “Nurses need allies to end this pandemic, and productive conversations about the vaccine among family, friends and those who trust each other can open minds.”

A recent AACN survey of more than 6,500 acute and critical care nurses found that 76% of respondents say that people who have yet to be vaccinated threaten nurses’ physical and mental well-being. It also found that 92% of nurses surveyed said they believe the pandemic has depleted nurses at their hospitals and, as a result, their careers will be shorter than they intended.

“We know that people in communities with low vaccination rates are at greater risk for becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 and dying from what is now largely a preventable disease,” said Amanda Bettencourt, AACN president-elect and an assistant nursing professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The pandemic has brought the nursing profession into crisis, and the public is a critical part of the solution. The fastest way out of this is by more people getting vaccinated.”

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