Staffing Up For Flu Season 2023
Flu season is upon us once again, and healthcare facilities are gearing up to handle the anticipated surge in patients. Increased patient load and staff illness can strain resources and make it difficult to maintain high-quality care. Healthcare providers can efficiently manage these challenges by creating a comprehensive staffing plan. This proactive process can protect the well-being of both patients and staff.
Establishing Essential Core Staff
The first step in creating a flu season staffing plan is to establish essential core staff. This includes identifying the clinical and nonclinical roles that are crucial for maintaining quality care during this time. Some examples include:
Clinical staff: doctors, nurses, medical assistants, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and laboratory technicians
Nonclinical staff: administrative staff, custodial workers, and IT support
Once essential core staff have been identified, healthcare facilities should recruit and train qualified individuals for these roles. Cross-training staff members to fill multiple roles can also help to ensure flexibility and coverage during peak times.
Identifying Additional Necessary Staff
In addition to essential core staff, healthcare facilities may also need to identify support staff during peak times in flu season. This could include positions such as:
Emergency medical personnel
When identifying additional staff needs, healthcare facilities should consider multiple factors. Historical patient volumes, expected flu severity, and sick leave policies can all have an impact.
Reviewing Sick Leave Policies
Review sick leave policies to ensure adequate coverage during flu season. Flexible leave policies that encourage employees to stay home when they are sick help reduce the spread of the flu. These precautions can minimize the impact of staff shortages.
Recruiting Additional Staff
In addition to an internal staffing plan, healthcare facilities can also partner with a staffing agency to prepare for flu season. Staffing agencies have a large pool of qualified candidates who are experienced working in healthcare settings. They can also help healthcare facilities quickly and efficiently fill open positions.
When choosing a staffing agency, it is important to select one that specializes in healthcare and has a good reputation. Agencies like Beyond Medical Staffing can help healthcare facilities recruit and place a variety of healthcare professionals, including:
Licensed practical nurses
Certified nursing assistants
By partnering with a staffing agency, healthcare facilities can save time and money on the recruiting process. They can also be confident that they are getting qualified and experienced staff. This is a key element in managing the increased patient load during flu season.
Preventing Flu in the Workplace
In addition to staffing up, healthcare facilities can also take steps to prevent the spread of the flu in the workplace. Here are a few recommendations:
Encourage employees to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. Healthcare facilities should offer free or discounted flu shots to all employees.
Implement infection prevention protocols. This includes things like handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and covering coughs and sneezes. Provide employees with access to hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment.
Promote a healthy lifestyle. Employees should be encouraged to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.
Allow employees to stay home when they are sick. This helps to prevent the spread of the flu to other employees and patients.
Educate employees about the flu and how to prevent it. This can be done through posters, flyers, and other informational materials.
Additional Considerations for Flu Season Staffing
There are a few other things that healthcare facilities should consider when staffing for flu season:
The impact of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on healthcare systems around the world. Many healthcare workers have left the profession due to burnout and stress. This has created a shortage of healthcare workers, which could make it even more difficult to staff up for flu season.
The changing landscape of healthcare. The healthcare landscape is constantly changing, with new technologies and treatments emerging all the time. Healthcare facilities need to ensure that their staff is properly trained on the latest technologies and treatments. This is especially important during flu season, when healthcare providers may be treating a higher volume of patients with complex conditions.
The well-being of healthcare workers. Healthcare workers are under a lot of stress during flu season. They are working long hours and dealing with a high volume of patients. It is important for healthcare facilities to prioritize the well-being of their staff during this time. This could include offering things like employee assistance programs, mental health resources, and flexible work arrangements.
With these additional factors in mind, healthcare facilities can develop a more comprehensive staffing plan for flu season. This will help to ensure high-quality care for their patients during this challenging time.
Careful planning and consideration can help healthcare facilities be fully prepared to meet the demands of the 2023-2024 flu season. By proactively staffing up and ensuring adequate coverage, healthcare providers can protect the well-being of their patients.
Learn more about how Beyond Medical Staffing can help you staff up for flu season!