With the arrival of this year’s flu season, St. Joseph Health (SJH) is putting the health of its hospital employees at the top of its priority list when it comes to vaccinations for the influenza virus. It is encouraging all its nurses and caregivers at each of its 14 facilities to get the influenza vaccine to ensure they remain healthy as possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to flu complications every year, and about 36,000 die after contracting the virus. Older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications, which can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. The best protection remains the influenza vaccine.
“Given the vaccine’s potential for keeping you from getting sick and possibly passing the virus on to your most vulnerable patients, it’s the right thing to do,” says Trish Cruz, manager of evidence-based care in the Quality Management Department at St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, which requires all its nurses to get the vaccine. “In order to keep aligned with our major priority of ensure the communities we serve are considered the healthiest, it’s imperative that we include our staff in that effort.”
Because of the importance of receiving the vaccine, St. Joseph Hospital requires all employees to be either vaccinated or sign a declination statement. “Our goal is to look for ways to set a standard for employee health, which ultimately helps us provide perfect care for our patients,” states Cruz.
Earlier this year, the Gallup Organization awarded St. Joseph Health one of its highest honors for the second year in a row – the Great Workplace Award. St. Joseph Health System is among only 20 organizations worldwide to receive the 2008 award. The Gallup “Great Workplace Awards” are based on the most rigorous workplace research ever conducted. A panel of workplace experts selected the award-winning organizations. St. Joseph Health System is among the winners because its results demonstrate SJH has one of the most productive and engaged workplaces in the world.