213224 Inadequate Health and Safety Protection Reported by Nurses During the H1N1 (Swine) Influenza Outbreak

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mark D. Catlin, BS BA , Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Washington, MD
Ingela Dahlgren, RN , SEIU Nurse Alliance of California, Camarillo, CA
The outbreak of H1N1 flu in the United States in April 2009 raised concerns about the occupational health protections that were being provided to healthcare workers. This poster will report the results of a preliminary survey completed of registered nurses by the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) National Nurse Alliance. The survey was distributed to frontline nurse leaders from sixteen healthcare facilities across California. The results of this preliminary survey indicate that many healthcare facilities in California appeared to not be providing adequate health and safety protections to healthcare workers during the ongoing H1N1 flu outbreak. The possible reasons for this lack of preparedness by employers and what can be done to improve healthcare workers protections will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Descibe the results of the survey of nurse's experience with occupational health protections in the early phase of the H1N1 outbreak in California. Compare the protections reported by the survey of nurses to the existing CDC guidance. Discuss the reasons for healthcare employer lack of compliance with CDC infection control guidelines for protecting healthcare workers.

Keywords: Infectious Diseases, Occupational Exposure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have academic training and more than twenty five years of experience working in occupational health and safety, including three years at a public hospital.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.