Vocal anti-vaccination midwives and RNs in our public health system. Is this what we want?

We have known for some time that there is an undercurrent of science-denial in health care professions. I am always astonished, however, that one can go through a degree focussed on best-practice, evidence-based healthcare; yet, come out the other side with a degree in one hand, and anti-vaccination beliefs in the other.

Of course most of us have heard about the Patriot Nurse, the US-based, gun-toting, uber-libertarian who makes YouTube videos, the like of which Mike Adams would be ashamed (okay, maybe not). We have similar problems Down Here as well. Only today I had to update my post, Kerry Baker: Registered Nurse; AVN Supporter; Vilifier of Grieving Families. In the last few months another vocal and publicly strident anti-vaccination midwife has begun to show her public support for the Australian Vaccination Network, using her qualifications and job position to add gravitas to her anti-vaccination support. This is a worry. She is not the first. She will not be the last.

Meet Joanne Howard, whose Facebook profile showed that she works at Goulburn Valley Health, as an RN/Midwife. This is a person who is at the front line of maternal and neonatal health care.

A perfect question. A legitimate question. I don’t think Howard answered this one. From the AVN Facebook page July 26 2012.

This is a person to whom parents look for health information. I am in no way suggesting that this person allows her views to interfere with her role. But, I am puzzled at to how someone with such firmly held anti-science beliefs can work in a role which would be unconscionable to those self-held beliefs. I am also puzzled as to how someone who cares for those who are in such a vulnerable position, and can see the harsh and sometimes brutal realities of early life, and the consequences of such, can publicly support and promote anti-vaccination myths, using her profession to do that. There must be a code of conduct somewhere for that. Surely there is a retraining manual? Where did all of the evidence-based training go?

Here is Howard on the AVN Facebook page on July 28 2012, pushing the dual anti-vaccine lies, that vaccines cause autism, and SIDS. Howard is certainly in some prestigious anti-vaccination company with this trope:

I’m starting to think that Howard’s hubris has gotten away on her. Does this person ever talk to the medical professionals with whom she works?

Yes. You read that right. A registered nurse/midwife, working in our public health system, spreading anti-vaccination myths, stating that “vaccines are not safe or effective”.

Howard has also been busy in her attempts to shut down any criticism of the Australian Vaccination Network. There is some hard-core anti-vaccination fundamentalism being practised here, the like of which has recently, and frequently, been carried out by Meryl Dorey and her generals. Here is Howard proudly proclaiming that she has been on a deceitful and malicious reporting spree, in an attempt to shut down the Stop the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network Facebook page. Not only has she been acting in a malicious manner, for the cause, she has repeated that she is untouchable, crank beliefs or not:

Dragging her co-professionals down with her by stating that immunisation is “not worth the risk”? I’d like to hear their views.

I’m not sure I would be comfortable working alongside this person. And I believe that parents have a right to know who is providing their health care. And I strongly believe that health care professionals have a duty of care to their patients, families, and co-workers, to take all the evidence-based steps they can to reduce the spread of disease, and misinformation, in our shared community. It’s up to the public health system as to whether or not they retain this type of individual; but, I can only hope some serious retraining and education can be provided for someone in this person’s position of influence.

Personally? I would like her to gtfo of our hospitals. But, that’s just my opinion.

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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0 Responses to Vocal anti-vaccination midwives and RNs in our public health system. Is this what we want?

  1. Dan Buzzard says:

    Disease advocacy is clearly a conflict of interest. These people need to be struck off the register.

  2. GC says:

    Mark Crislip called medical professionals who don’t get the flu vaccine dumb asses. Clearly this nurse is deserving of the same description, or worse for being a vocal ignoramus.

  3. I used to work for a construction company. People exercising their civil right not to wear a plastic hat on site were asked to sign a form of conscientious objection. It had “Resignation” written on the top of the page.

    She doesn’t want to be vaccinated. Then she can’t be a nurse. That’s the way the world should work.

  4. I couldn’t work with a nurse who was anti-vax. How could I be sure any vaccine I prescribed, or any medication for that matter, with the informed consent of the patient, would actually be administered? (Not that I actually prescribe anything yet, but some day) How do I know the nurse is not going to undermine my patient’s confidence in me by saying “look here, she’s a BigPharma shill, here’s the real deal on vaccines/drugs/etc”?.

    This is a disturbing turn of events, and now you’ve got me worried I may be working with secretly anti-vax nurses!

  5. Ken McLeod says:

    I do hope that her posts were reported to her employer.

  6. Annette Bannon says:

    How can she possibly have anyone work along side her with these views?
    She is a twit, not only posting this, but stating she is a midwife.
    If her employer becomes aware of this, and she is influencing new parents, then she should be shown the door!

  7. Cat says:

    I thought by law nurses had to be vaccinated for certian things at work? Can some one straighten me out? 🙂

    • Hi Cat,
      Basically, nurses are not mandated to be fully immunised. However, they will be limited as to clinical environments in which they are allowed to work. Each State is slightly different, but, basically, unimmunised nurses are reassigned to areas of lower risk of transmission. Here is an old document I made, debunking one of meryl Dorey’s money-making scare campaigns.

      Personally, I do not believe vaccine denialists have a place in our health care system. I’m not sure why they think they are suited for the job of caring for the sick and injured, when they clearly are devoid of a duty of care for their patients, co-workers, and families. I mean, really: should we be hiring people who refuse the best method of reducing the transmission of influenza (for example), based on myth and belief?

      • Cat says:

        Well I personally would like them to be vaccinated but that is my choice. My kids are vacinnated ,my youngest’s one for 18mths are six mths over due but they advise if you r sick to wait till you are better, she’s been better only for the last two days so it could be happening tomorrow ,, she won’t love it I never did :l but for the greater good I have read lots of things I would of loved a test too see if you would have a reaction or not but I know what Polio did to my father So I did choose to vaccinate & Thank-you for your reply 🙂

  8. Vaccine denialists should not be allowed to practice in hospitals, and although I applaud you for making the responsible and sane decision to vaccinate for your children, I’m sorry to have to disagree with you Cat but it is should not be a matter of “personal choice” for health care workers. The overwhelming scientific evidence is that vaccination reduces the spread of infection, and therefore health care workers should be vaccinated. If they deny the evidence, they should not be practicing. At the end of the day, if you are a risk to your patients, you have no right to be near them.
    In the case of health care workers, especially in hospitals, they are working with people who are already ill, possibly even immunocompromised, and an infection passed from a healthcare worker in those circumstances can be fatal. You shouldn’t get to make a free choice in this circumstance, because your choices have consequences for others. Vaccination is not mandatory for health care workers (maybe it should be, but that’s an argument for another day), but they sure as hell should be responsible and protect their patients by vaccinating.

    • Cat says:

      I like my chioce , to have them all vaccinated, I find our pariot slackism in our government just ridiculous it just seems like a common sense thing to have everyone in the health sector vaccinated as they would be more exposed to diseases & if they were infected a greater public contact to already unwell people :l I agree with you on this Caroline 🙂

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  12. FFF says:

    Not on AHPRA register in NSW as nurse or midwife

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