The flu season always presents an opportunity for travel nurses. The demand for travel nurses during the flu season is a given. Unfortunately, it also presents a concern for our health and the health of our family. The demand for travel nurses this year is urgent. There are communities across the United States that are now dealing with the worst flu outbreak we have seen in years. The news of both young and old who died due to flu complications are both heartbreaking and concerning.
The CDC has the most current updated information about the flu on its flu surveillance page. Flu season generally occurs during the fall and winter season. The CDC states that 5 to 20 percent of Americans will get the flu each year and many of those will go to the hospital. This year there are reports that this is one of the worst seasons we have seen in years. Hospitals become quickly overwhelmed when an outbreak occurs. Due to the unpredictability of where an outbreak may occur it is hard for hospitals to staff in preparation for the influx. This is why it is important as a travel nurse to stay on top of seasonal flu trends. You will want to educate your patients to ensure everyone is protecting themselves from the virus when possible.
Be ready to travel
When the flu season hits it can very quickly become overwhelming for a hospital. Because hospitals can’t always staff up to prepare for the unknown they will turn to a travel nursing agency for help. Most agencies will look for those nurses who are able to leave at a moments notice. The CDC provides a page on their site where you can track week to week state-specific activity.
If you are one of those who can travel at a moments notice look at the map to see where you might be helpful. I see on the Faststaff travel nurse agency site they have an immediate need in Arizona, California, Massachusets, and New York.
Death from the flu
Death occurs from flu complications. I myself have suffered from pneumonia resulting from a bad case of the flu years ago. I made sure after that to get the Pneumonia vaccine and got a flu shot every year. From 1975 to 2006 the CDC reports there were possibly 3,000 to 49,000 deaths resulting from the flu. Recently I heard a report of a 39-year-old mother of small children who died in California. Just this weekend here in Alabama a small 8-year-old child died of complications of the flu only 2 days after becoming symptomatic.
As a travel nurse, it is important for you to educate your patients to ensure everyone is protecting themselves from the virus. You also need to take precautions to protect yourself as you travel to these high-risk areas to work. The CDC has a wealth of information for you to share. Teaching our patients is a large part of what we do.
However, you feel about the flu vaccine it is your duty to provide unbiased information to your patients. Make sure you are providing the most up to date information which is provided on the CDC site.