As an Employee Health (EH) nurse, you’re probably under increasing pressure to serve as a source of the best and most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and its vaccines, boosters, and variants. With healthcare workers (HCWs) largely on par with the rest of the population regarding vaccine hesitancy, a hard job is even more challenging.1 What many people don’t know is that a facility’s lack of compliance with public health guidelines is something that can jeopardize its facility’s funding.2
Below, we’ll look at ways EH nurses can stay up-to-date on the latest evidence-based COVID news and keep HCWs informed in the hopes of improving compliance with all guidelines.
Keep Up With the News Cycle
Recently, the Omicron variants have brought increasingly frantic predictions about fall and winter 2022 and 2023 infection numbers. This has led to questions about whether current vaccines and boosters are really effective, and it has created more uncertainty over masking guidelines.
HCWs get their information from all over, including unreliable social media sources. That makes it even more crucial for you to have the best information regarding current COVID news. Two good sources to consult for up-to-date public health information from reliable sources are:
- The Wolters Kluwer’s Up-To-Date website’s “COVID-19: Occupational Health Issues for Health Care Personnel,” updated June 2022.
- The CDC’s “COVID Data Tracker, Weekly View,” which EH nurses can subscribe to with an email address.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also laid out compliance requirements in “COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Health Care Providers and Suppliers.” Of course, state laws may supersede new public health recommendations. So when it comes to local requirements, the COVID public health webpage of your state or county will have the most relevant and detailed advice. Store it in your bookmarks for easy access.
Tackle Vaccine Hesitancy
Studies show that a major factor in vaccine compliance among HCWs is their ability to trust information from their employer.3 That puts EH nurses in the position of having to educate other HCWs about the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines and boosters for the good of the workplace and the patients it serves.
The following are trusted resources by public health experts that you can access whenever you have doubts. They are aimed at professionals, such as Employee Health nurses, who struggle to address vaccine hesitancy, combat misconceptions, and enforce regulations using facts rather than force with healthcare workers:
- CDC, “COVID-19 Vaccination Clinical & Professional Resources,” Updated May 13, 2022.
- CDC, “COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Research,” March 22, 2022.
- U.S. Department of Labor, “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” June 10, 2021.
Improving your public health literacy so that you can answer questions may improve HCWs’ trust in their workplace and improve compliance.
Manage Elements of Uncertainty
No single person can grasp the full picture when it comes to COVID and its variants. However, there is a source of helpful information that can improve your understanding of where we stand with COVID, especially with regard to healthcare facilities.
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses partnered with 19 nursing and healthcare organizations in 2021 to create an education campaign called “COVID Facts for Nurses.” EH nurses struggling to see how all of the information we’ve learned over the last 2+ years fits together can find expert perspectives and get answers to common questions in the December 2021 report – “COVID Vaccine Facts for Nurses: Impact Report.”
EH Nurses As Educators
As an EH nurse, you have a long list of responsibilities, but chief among them is protecting the health and wellbeing of HCWs. The best way to do that in a time of uncertainty and misinformation is to be as well-informed as possible and ensure your knowledge of COVID comes from the best possible sources of public health data.
Note: Net Health makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any of the information presented herein. All information is provided on an as-is basis. It is the viewer’s responsibility to verify any and all information presented herein.
3 Best Practices for Employee Health Nurses
1 Public Health, “Vaccine Hesitancy in American Healthcare Workers During the COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out: An Integrative Review,”
2 McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, “CMS Withholds Another $1-Plus Million Over Vaccine Mandate Compliance,” June 14, 2022.
3 PLoS One, “A Pilot Study on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Healthcare Workers in the US,” June 15, 2022.