I have been a RN for 25+ years and was recently told, during a pre-employment physical, that I am hep C positive. If it turns out that though hep c positive, but with no active infection, will I be allowed to continue to work as a RN?
I wouldn't advertise it. But unless you're swapping blood with your patients I don't see a reason to quit nursing. If you do tell people about it though, your place of employment can and sometimes will try to force you out. Just my opinion.
An agency (or school) cannot discriminate against you because you have a medical condition. I am an RN in a level 2 nursery, and I got Hep C from blood transfusions at birth. I was really scared when I found out, I had always wanted to be a nurse. Now, I just have to keep the MN department of health up to date with my work status. I don't think you even have to tell your employer if you choose not to, you just need to follow universal (standard) precautions like everyone else. We protect ourselves from patients body fluids all the time, and we are essentially protecting them from us as well. I can do everything that my job requires me to do. They did say something about procedures such as orthopaedic surgery and such where you would be in a body cavity and not neccessarily be able to see your hands. If you are performing procedures where you are going in blind, there are a few different rules. MN has a level of risk system, and I am in the lowest risk category. Hope this helps.
"If it turns out that though hep c positive, but with no active infection, will I be allowed to continue to work as a RN? "
You are positive for the antibodies, not the active virus? That is what I understand from your post. You can't infect someone with a virus you do not have. Apparently, your immune system fought off the virus or perhaps you treated at some point and no longer have the virus. You will test positive for the antibodies the rest of your life. In any event, as Megan stated, they can't discriminate against you regardless of whether you have the active virus or not.
This was posted on the expert forum by Dr. Dieterich who has treated for hepc twice.
"Because of the ADA( Americans with Disabilities Act) no one can prevent you from practicing your profession if you have an infection unless you are giving to your patients. One of the risks for acquiring HCV is from needlesticks as a healthcare worker so a lot of us are infected and employers cant ask about it unless there is an epidemic caused by you! However that being said if you have HCV you should definitely get evaluated and treated! Good luck! DTD "
Yes 1) It would be discrimination not to allow you
2) It's blood to blood, youare not putting anyone at risk, with normalnursing care
I agree also with alagirl. There is still such a huge stigma ttached with this ilness, I wouldn't bring it up. It is your personal info.
Hospitals and dialysis clinics test to see if you have immunity to Hepatitis B. If you don't, they offer you the vaccine. They also do a TB skin test and a drug screen....but they don't test you for Hep C. The Health Departments test you for alot more so I guess it would depend where you're getting the job.
I've been worried about the same thing. I've passed my entrance and am suppose to start school for LPN in the fall but I'm scared this may make it difficult to get a job or even go to school because they require a healthy physical. I am currently on treatment so I really hope that I will successfully finish it and be hep c free by the time school starts. If anything the looks and questions there will be about why I have this, not that the reason is anyones business. But it does stay on my mind.
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