While I was on holiday, two H1 N1 Swine flu pandemic things happened. Firstly someone in our office went down with it, and the PCT advertised for a flu manager. The person who had the flu has recovered, one person in the office decided to take Tamiflu, and no one else caught the virus. I don’t know if anyone has applied for the job, it’s not my idea of a fun way to spend your working life, but might suit someone. It seems though that things are getting serious in the world of flu related issues.
Part of our county, which sits right next to London has so far seen quite a number of cases, or supposed cases since the advice now is to stay home and ring NHS direct where you will be diagnosed over the phone on the basis of your symptoms. Discussions with colleagues who know people who have suffered so far say that it is quite a nasty virus, likely to knock you off your feet and to make you feel awful. For many people this will have been their first run in with any kind of proper flu virus, since people often have a day or two of sniffles and return telling you they have had flu.
My colleagues working in midwifery in that part of the county are already putting plans into place (as I am sure all ward and community manager are) for if and when staffing levels dip so low that normal services cannot be guaranteed and they have to prioritise. I and many others have completed a form owning up to being nurses, and offering to pick up some slack if needed. I wonder why though in that planning process no one has suggested it might be a good idea for people like me to think about some of our mandatory training (BLS, infection control and moving and handling) come to mind. You can imagine therefore what might happen. We hit a crisis, managers who are also clinicians and who currently sit in their office are asked to mobilise. We will we though be fit for any kind of practice?
Maybe all of this will come to nothing. Maybe the thing will just chug on through the flu season proper. But maybe if you are going to plan to mobilise your qualified nurses who happen to be working in management you might like to encourage them to get themselves properly prepared.