Utah based healthcare system, Utah Health LLC, has recently adopted a new policy for all floor and administrative staff restricting footwear to a new distributed system of disposable slippers with rubber soles and bunny ears.
In speaking with the Director of Occupational Health, Jan Footlocker, we learned of a growing need for footwear that met general safety requirements both on and off hospital floors: “We have seen an increase over the years in worker comp claims from nurses, who – following the latest fashion trends and not wearing proper footwear while on shift, would roll their ankles and we’d be out of a nurse for weeks at a time.”
“I used to get a lot of worker comp claims from nurses rolling their ankles wearing designer shoes and have decided to give each nurse a pair of disposable slippers each morning,” said Director of Occupational Health, Jimmy Jan Chu. “Once they’re finished with them for the day, they are recycled to become isolation stethoscopes,” she continued.
“The slippers only come in two colors, white and cream,” said Stacey Croc, the Purchasing Manager at Utah Health. “You should have heard the reaction from the slipper distributor when I said I needed to order 10,000 pairs of slippers every month,” she chuckled. “I ordered a couple extra pairs for my family because I mean, how cute are those bunny ears?” she added.
We talked to the nurses who are now required to wear the slippers to avoid injuries. “I think it’s terrible”, said Registered Nurse Katie M. who didn’t want to give her last name for fear of slipper retaliation. “I mean, I feel like I’m getting my prison handouts every morning!” she exclaimed.
“I love them,” Carolyn Skecher stated, a Labor and Delivery nurse with over 14 years of experience. “I just plop them on my feet every morning and I’m like BAM!! here are my sweet, comfortable, cream-colored slippers with floppy bunny ears. I mean I’m already practically wearing pajamas to work and now … slippers?! This is a dream.”
CEO of Utah Health, Lester Asics, admitted that when he first saw his medical staff on the operating room floor with bunny slippers on, he was a bit concerned, but cedes the fact that reducing the amount of ankle rolling injuries, and worker comp claims, will make it worthwhile. “I mean one ankle roll is one roll too many. If these slippers can help out with patient care and our bottom line, slippity slippers it is!” said Mr. Asics, while sipping his coffee wearing a dark pinstriped suit, and white, fuzzy, bunny slippers. “One day a nice comfy slipper, the next day a stethoscope,” he stated. “From the sole to the heart” he added with a chuckle and a snort.
We here at Next Move, will continue to follow this story to see if the fuzzy, bunny slipper policy decreases worker comp claims at Utah Health, LLC.
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