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H1N1 and nurse staffing

I can’t believe fall is almost here and the school year has started. As you know that means that flu season is upon us. And this year we also have the threat of H1N1 looming.

I’ve recently seen some pretty scary numbers regarding how many people will be affected, and although I am sure it won’t be as bad as the worst case scenario 90,000 deaths recently projected by the CDC, it is still likely to have an impact on hospital’s staffing needs. Here are some facts from the CDC website that I thought were interesting in regards to nurse staffing:

• So far there have been 7,983 cases hospitalized cases nationwide
• There have been 522 reported deaths nationwide
• There has already been reported influenza activity in most states this year
• Two states are reporting widespread influenza activity, which is rare in August
• Up to 300,000 patients could require care in intensive care units (ICUs)
• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has already issued a memo about the triage rules in case of an outbreak
• According to a recent survey of hospitals in nine states by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 18% of hospitals with infected H1N1 patients reported having RNs infected as well

What about your hospital? What have you been doing to prepare?