Even when healthcare employees are up-to-date on all vaccinations, cold and flu season can sneak up on seemingly prepared healthcare workers. Having healthcare employees out of commission during cold and flu season can be challenging, especially when sick patients will be on the rise. Here are a few ways to prevent a staff shortage during cold and flu season:
Monitor overall employee wellness
If employees are stressed out and putting in a lot of overtime, it leaves their immune system more susceptible to contracting an illness. If scheduling and management are under control, employees will face less stress and are less likely to catch a cold from any sick patients. This can be helped by having a conversation with your employees about their stress levels and also by ensuring you have enough help to cover all your shifts.
Monitor employee vaccinations
A lot of healthcare facilities require flu vaccinations for all of their employees, but not all do. If your healthcare facility does not have a vaccination policy and is not willing to implement one, make sure to stress the importance of vaccines for these employees. According to the CDC, flu vaccinations are the best way to prevent the flu.
Healthcare employees often feel the pressure to show up for their shift at any cost. Knowing it’s hard to call in replacement staff and impossible to operate when short on staff, employees will report to work even when they are sick. When an employee shows up sick, they put other employees, as well as patients, at risk. Around the time of cold and flu season, make sure to have a conversation with your staff stating they should not report to work when sick, and that calling in sick is a better decision than putting patients and other employees at risk.
Use temporary staffing
No matter how hard you try, everyone falls victim to cold and flu season on occasion. Make sure your healthcare facility can run at full capacity with temporary staff on hand. Per diem nurses and temporary healthcare staff will help to fill shifts left open by sick employees. This will also ensure patients are getting the attention and care they need.
If your healthcare facility is looking to stay prepared for cold and flu season, contact an Alliance Healthcare Solutions recruiter to find top-notch per diem nurses and temporary or full-time healthcare employees.