There’s no doubt about it—flu season is in full swing. Influenza activity typically rises in October and November and reaches its peak in December, holding strong until about March. An estimated one in five Americans contract the flu every year, and 200,000 of those end up having to be hospitalized. Flu activity is expected to be less severe this flu season than in recent years, but there really is no predicting how influenza will impact different areas around the country. Regardless of how the flu season plays out, the demand for physicians always rises sharply at this time of the year.
Hospitals are relying more and more on locum tenens each year to manage the increase of patients with respiratory concerns during flu season. For practices and organizations that need to meet heightened staffing needs, locum tenens offers the perfect solution. Locum tenens physicians and other healthcare professionals can handle patient overflow, therefore cutting down on lengthy waits for appointments. This keeps patients happy and reduces the likelihood that they will seek care elsewhere. It also helps preserve the health of the entire healthcare staff. Moreover, bringing in locum tenens physicians eliminates the need to hire more staff permanently. Overall, locum tenens can help you meet temporary staffing needs and keep your permanent staff from becoming overworked during the flu season.
For locum tenens healthcare professionals during this flu season, here are some ways that you can make the most of your locum tenens experience:
First, get your flu vaccination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 40 percent of healthcare professionals will get their flu shot this year. You may exercise extra precaution at work with frequent hand washing and wearing of protective gloves, but keep in mind that you are exposed to the virus much more often than people of other occupations are. In addition, being vaccinated will reduce your chances of spreading the virus to other patients.
Second, follow precautionary policies strictly. Never is it more important than at this time of the year to comply with hand washing policies and to wear protective equipment such as gloves and masks.
Finally, keep yourself informed of flu severity and outbreaks throughout the United States. Pay particular attention to flu activity in the area that you are serving as a locum tenens.