Promoting a Culture of Safety: Flu Shots

I invited Dr. Tim Appenheimer to share some information on our flu shot policy for KSB Hospital employees. He has a good perspective on the “why” behind decisions we make to promote patient and employee safety.

– Dave

Tim Appenheimer, MD

How far would you
go to make KSB a safer place for our patients? 
Would you pick up a piece of debris from a walkway?  Would you report a bare wire? Would you get a
flu shot?
Keeping our patients safe means protecting them from harm or
risk while they are under our care.  Some
risks are obvious—an open flame, a broken chair, or a banana peel on the floor;
but many of the safety hazards in a medical facility are hidden and
subtle.  Some of the most dangerous
hazards for our patients are too small to see, even under a microscope.
People who come to our facilities for help are often dealing
with acute illnesses and infections. 
Many others who seek our help are dealing with chronic illness and
ineffective immune systems.  This means that medical facilities, by their
nature, bring people most likely to have infections into proximity with people
who are least able to fight infections!
The result can be serious influenza
complications or even death.
What mechanism provides the final link between one patient with
an infection and another patient who is vulnerable?  Often, it is you or I.  It can be our uncleansed hands or our
respiratory secretions.
Persons with influenza are contagious a day or so before
symptoms develop. In addition, some persons may be infected with the flu virus
and have no symptoms—but can still be contagious for several days.  If you do not get immunized, you, as a health care worker, can easily
be the unwitting link between one acutely ill patient and another vulnerable
patient whose defenses are down…and you may never be aware.
You care about our patients’ well-being and safety:  that’s why you work here.
This flu season, KSB will be joining healthcare facilities
around the country in requiring all employees to be immunized against influenza.  There will be few exceptions, and these will
be well-documented.
During the upcoming flu season, we will appreciate your
support as we continue making KSB the safest place possible for our patients.
More questions? Contact Jennifer MacDonald (
or check out
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