We recently sat down with Jasmine Bhatti, PhD(c), MS, RN and CEO of Navi Nurses. Jasmine has been a registered nurse for over 11 years. As a family caregiver and owner of Navi Nurses, she helps those in need of at home care with concierge nursing services. Jasmine is also a part of our wonderful Immunization Ambassadors family, advocating and educating the public about the importance of immunizations! Read on to learn Jasmine’s story.
- What inspired you to start Navi Nurses?
I have been a registered nurse for over 11 years, and what I first realized as a family caregiver is that we don’t do a really good job supporting people with new medical diagnoses or helping them transition home from the hospital. While taking care of my grandmother who had head and neck cancer, I was often scared and overwhelmed at the complexity of her care, and it was hard to find support other than the emergency room. When I became a nurse, I moved into a charge nurse position within my first few years, and I would often have to answer calls from people who had been discharged earlier that day. What I realized was that my experience was not unique. Many people still have many questions or concerns after leaving the hospital, and it is hard to find the right support that you need. Navi was built to fill in those gaps, and to help people go from 24/7 care to adjusting at home with immediate help. Our nurses help transition people home by getting reports directly from the nurse in the hospital and help to ensure all the medications are correct and that all the important appointments are made.
- How long have you been an Immunization Ambassador?
My sister actually opened my eyes to the Immunization Ambassador program around six years ago. She was working for the Arizona Health Department as a virologist and introduced me to the incredible work that you are doing.
- Why is immunization advocacy important to you?
Immunization advocacy is incredibly important to me because vaccines work to not only protect those who are healthy, but it protects those who are vulnerable and cannot receive the vaccine. We all know people with our social circles who are compromised in some way. The safety and efficacy of vaccines are always thoroughly examined, and the positive outcomes of vaccines cannot be denied. As a result of vaccines, we no longer need to worry about diseases like polio or measles. As a nurse, I have a responsibility to ensure that the people I care for are given accurate information to make the best healthcare choices. It is impossible to make the best decisions without being provided with the best evidence. Not all science is good science, and to an untrained eye, it can be difficult to discern what you should believe.
- What is your favorite part about being an Immunization Ambassador?
My favorite part about being an Immunization Ambassador now is being able to show my support for vaccines. It is my hope that other health science professionals continue to offer authentic dialogue with those who are curious or uncertain about vaccines.
- Why did you get the COVID-19 vaccine?
As a nurse who worked in a Covid unit, I could not wait to get my first vaccine. I had seen things that broke my heart and felt things that terrified me. I remember talking to patients in their room and then all of a sudden being afraid of becoming sick myself in case my mask had moved out of place. I was terribly afraid of accidentally spreading it to a loved one, so I stopped seeing my family. I got the vaccine to protect myself, my loved ones, my patients, and my community.
- What advice do you have for dispelling misinformation that the anti-vaxxer community promotes?
My greatest piece of advice is to simply seek out information from highly reputable and trustworthy sources. For example, I always turn to organizations like Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins for medical information. They are always providing the highest quality science to support their decisions and recommendations.
- What do you think is the most important thing for people to know about vaccines?
I think the most important thing for people to know about vaccines is that they are safe. Yes, there can be side effects related to vaccines, but they often are very mild in comparison to what can happen without being vaccinated. It’s also really important to know that vaccines are not just about protecting you. It’s about protecting your community.
- How can people learn more immunization advocacy?
I would invite anyone who is curious or unsure about vaccines to take advantage of local opportunities to learn more. There is something really important about open dialogue, and just listening. Don’t be afraid of judgement, as there is no such thing as a silly question. Most of us who work in health sciences simply want everyone to be given the opportunity to learn credible and unbiased information.
- Why do you vax?
I vax because it is the right thing to do. Selfishly, vaccines keep me healthy. I also vax because it is a requirement for me as a nurse. Most health organizations require that their clinical staff are fully vaccinated in order to work.