With flu season already upon us, you probably have a lot of questions, especially if you are on a contract assignment or have picked up a shift. Many nurses wonder if there is a specific flu shot policy for healthcare workers at their current facility. Ideally, the facility in which you are working should notify you of their policy and make clear any specifications of which you need to be aware. In fact, if you know you will be on assignment or picking up a shift during flu season, it is a good idea to discuss these types of requirements with your recruiter beforehand.
Are Nurses/Healthcare Workers Required to Get a Flu Shot?
An excellent source of flu education for healthcare workers is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. There, nurses can find valuable information and statistics about the flu and flu vaccinations, as well as the CDC’s flu recommendations for healthcare workers. Their position is that all healthcare workers should receive a flu shot annually, and they give detailed information about the importance of flu vaccine for healthcare workers. According to the CDC, 18 states currently have established flu vaccination requirements for hospital healthcare workers. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the flu shot is required in those states. Requirements differ in each of those states and range from mandatory flu shots to adopting policies that recommend flu shots for all workers or simply documenting the flu shot status of each individual employee.
How Can Nurses Prevent Getting or Spreading the Flu?
As a healthcare worker, you are no doubt more experienced and knowledgeable than most when it comes to knowing how to prevent getting or spreading the flu. That said, it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of the basic dos and don’ts. The proven, most effective tool in preventing the flu is stopping its spread and adhering to the suggestions on this list will help you do just that.
- Get vaccinated.
- Be aware of flu symptoms in yourself and others, including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Cover your nose when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of any tissue you may have used.
- Be constantly aware of what comes into contact with your eyes, mouth and nose, including your hands.
- Keep your body healthy with plenty of sleep and whole foods that supply proper nutrients.
- Do not go to work if you have flu symptoms!
Flu season is a great time to earn extra money working a contract assignment or picking up per diem shifts! Search all of our current per diem and local contract assignments.