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What to do when a flu epidemic strikes your nursing staff

Amidst reports of surgical mask shortages in New York City and other areas in response to fear of the Coronavirus spreading, flu diagnoses also remain high in New York City. For four consecutive weeks, the last ending January 25, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that flu levels rank “high” in New York City, among other communities. In fact, 41 states, in addition to New York City, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, ranked high for flu activity for that last week.

December-February is considered peak flu season, but it has been known to last up until May. In mid-January, the NY Post reported there were 11,051 flu cases reported statewide – compared to 3,858 cases at the same time in 2019. And, while we often think about the outpatient and inpatient individuals who are down for the count, what happens when the nurses who care for them contract the flu themselves?

“For hospitals and clinical facilities which are experiencing higher patient volumes due to the flu, being short-staffed is an added challenge,” Katherine Cleak, Vice President, Thornbury Nursing Services, said. “In these instances, being able to bring in additional nurses on short-notice for as little as one shift, and more if needed, can positively impact the patients’ experience.”

How can hospitals staff up during flu season?

Per diem, nurses can help hospitals support patients when demand is high. Whether your lead nurse is out with the flu, and you need someone to guide the team, or you’re short of critical care nurses in the ICU, a per diem nurse can help. And, when you hire local per diem nurses, they’re available to jump in on extremely short notice, which is great when your ER wait times may be at an all-time high.

For hospitals who are looking for a staffing solution for the duration of flu season, both per diem and travel nurses may be a good fit. Both can be engaged for a set time and with a set schedule if desired.

Often, facilities worry about the added burden of training new/outside staff at a time when they’re already short-handed. The good news is that Thornbury’s nurses are licensed New York nurses with deep expertise in the fields they practice. If you need an ICU nurse with 10+ year experience, just say the word. And, if you’re looking for someone who may have previously worked in one of your facilities; is fluent in Spanish, Arabic, or another language; or lives in a specific borough, we can help you find them, too.

Don’t let flu season bring added staffing headaches to your facility. Contact Jeffrey on 646 844 1235 to learn more about hiring per diem nurses in New York during flu season.

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