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Story from the Field

Name of Health Department/Agency: Weber-Morgan Health Department
State: UT
Date Added: 06/23/2010
Themes: Vaccine Planning and Administration
Issue Summary: Using on-line survey tools for staffing and scheduling H1N1 clinics
Description of Issue(s):

Looking within: Surge Capacity Planning and Surveys

Have you taken the time to learn about your medical and non-medical staff and the amazing skill sets they possess? How about the skills and abilities of your volunteers? During my years as a healthcare administrator, I was amazed by the talent and experience employees possessed outside of their job description. There were circumstances where my knowledge of their skills proved mutually beneficial for the client, the employee, and the agency I represented.
In normal times, healthcare agencies experience staffing shortages. Studies have shown a current shortage of allied health care professionals and projects severe shortages in the future. I wish to highlight another critiwww.surveymonkey.com/s/DJWHCRGcal piece of healthcare agency staffing; that of support staff. Anyone who has ever worked in a hospital knows the value of an efficient unit clerk, without whom chaos would surely ensue.

Actions taken to address the issue(s): Understanding the skill sets of potential support staff and medical and non-medical volunteers is a crucial piece of planning. To this end, Survey Monkey, an online survey making tool, has become my friend. I used surveys to ascertain the skills and abilities of a few WMHD?s employees including those who could fill critical support functions during an emergency. The WIC staff skills survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/723JDZ9 is one example. I found that WIC staff possessed a range of skills from social media and blogging to experience in psychological trauma intervention. Still, others expressed a willingness to go door-to-door to hand out notices should all other communication systems fail. Another survey was created for the environmental health Staff. See http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HRC25SV. We found HAM radio operators, heavy machinery operators, and others with experience in inventory management ? a huge benefit for SNS support functions. Health education staff proved to be a valued resource as well. Their skill, patience, and experience in teaching adults and children in noisy and confusing environments proved to be another unexpected asset. The involvement and coordination of volunteers was an essential part of our approach to the H1N1 campaign. We appealed to local CERT teams for help with logistics so we could free the MRC for medical related duties. Email and surveys proved critical by determining the willingness and the availability of support staff and volunteers. These efforts were in process when the call for staffing tripled following the death of a Weber State University (WSU) professor from H1N1 and the resultant need for rapid vaccination of students , most of whom fell within the high risk groups. Emergency meetings between WMHD and WSU were held and a staffing plan was put into action. Coordination with WSU?s allied health professors and security staff, CERT and MRC volunteers, and WMHD?s extraordinarily dedicated staff enabled us to efficiently and effectively hold clinics at the Dee Events Center, giving 6000 vaccinations in two days. We used surveys to help with scheduling. An example of one scheduling survey used can be found http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DJWHCRG.
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: Like Utah?s other local health departments, WMHD?s successful H1N1 campaign was carried on the shoulders of dedicated administrators, staff, and volunteers. Our ability to adapt to change quickly and creatively by using tools available to us, such as an online survey tool, helped maximize the efficiency of our response. Surveys were invaluable in understanding the skills, abilities and availability of our staff and volunteers and to better respond to the community we serve.

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