Low On Surgical Scrubs? The Consequences Are Greater Than You Think

Posted by Joe Geraghty on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Stressed nurseWhen a medical staff goes to work, they need specific tools. Medical garments, surgical scrubs, lab coats – these are all things doctors and nurses absolutely cannot work without, primarily for health and safety reasons.

So what happens when you don’t have enough? Your staff scatters about until they find the appropriate garment (which may or may not be clean or the right size) and rush off to their next scheduled appointment.

This is no way to run a medical facility – or any facility, for that matter. A company’s staff is its most valued asset. If they feel too pressured, stressed or dissatisfied with the workplace, they’re may be likely to find another facility that doesn’t have these issues.

How Linen Inventory Initiates Internal Problems

When you don’t have your linen inventory under control, your staff suffers. They tire of the morning dashes to and from the inventory closet, only to find there are no scrubs left in their size. In addition to being frustrating for your staff, it’s also extremely unhealthy. Doctors and nurses may take their garments home in hopes of preserving an extra pair of scrubs. However, when these linens don’t go through a professional laundry service, they are not sanitized properly and have the potential to spread very harmful viruses.

If the above scenarios don’t scare you in the slightest, they should. Here are the most significant impacts of a mismanaged inventory process:

Negative Work Environment

If your staff repeatedly begins their day in search of scrubs, they’re repeatedly starting off on the wrong note. Medical professionals especially need to begin their days with a clear head and an even-keeled attitude. They cannot be stressing over their scrubs before a major procedure.

When patterns like this surface (e.g., daily scrub searches and insufficient linen inventory), your staff might ask themselves, “Why is our facility never prepared?” There is plenty of room for resentment to fester in this kind of situation, and your practice may end up losing some of its most valuable employees.

Insufficient inventory may sound like a minimal problem, but the long-term effects are significant.

Cost Factor

There is a price tag attached to your monthly laundry services, but are you paying for exactly what you’ve used? Often, facilities are overcharged, and they don’t even realize it. Invoices from the laundry service come in, the operations director/manager signs – and that’s that. What some people may fail to notice is that surgical scrubs are a very popular item with medical and non-medical personnel, and that a certain percentage tend disappear throughout the course of the month.

You probably don’t keep tabs on every single medical garment housed in your inventory closet, but when you realize that you’re consistently running out of a specific garment, the best idea is to take a proactive approach. Ask: “Why are my surgical scrubs continually running low, and are these decreases communicated in my laundry bills?” Taking a closer look at your inventory compared to your invoices gives you a better idea of what you’re paying for versus what you should be paying for.

Safety Issues

If doctors and nurses consistently struggle to find a pair of surgical scrubs in their size, once they’ve found it, they’re often not letting it go. What may seem like a preventative measure in your staff’s eyes is actually a dangerous situation for your entire facility. When your staff resorts to taking uniforms home, washing them in standard detergent and then wearing them back to work, they are potentially contaminating the workplace.

Home washing doesn’t kill the pathogens that are surely lingering on your surgical scrubs. According to AORN Standards, only a professional laundry service gets rid of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) – and even then, the service must provide credentials to meet sanitation standards. It is simply too risky for staff to take home contaminated garments and save them for future use.

Your staff and your workplace suffer greatly under the pressure of mismanaged inventory. Insufficient supply leads to problems with a dissatisfied staff, the possibility of higher bills from your laundry service and all-around unsanitary practices. Do something about your inventory management before these seemingly small issues turn into game-changing consequences for your facility.

To streamline your medical linen inventory, contact the experts at ImageFIRST. We’re dedicated to providing you with exceptional linens and services that suit your inventory needs so focusing on patient comfort is always your first priority. Call 1.800.408.0370 to speak with an ImageFIRST Customer Advocate now, or click the link below to learn more about Inventory Management that works.

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