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Mandatory flu shot time...what is an RN to do?

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

Ugh....to work in a hospital and disagree with their mandatory flu vaccination policy.

 

I have gotten a religous exemption for the past 2 years, but they are making it very, very difficult to do so this year. And honestly not sure I could wear a mask all day, every day.

 

Are there other's in this position? What have you done? Do you put up with mask Nov-April or do you get the shot to make you work life easier?

post #2 of 55

I get the flu shot.  I work for a large healthcare organization and it is mandatory.  There is a clause in our employment contracts that if we refuse it (for any reason including religious or philosophical or medical) then we will be terminated immediately.  It's not a big enough issue for me to feel like fighting it.  I work with people who are already sick/weakened and I don't want to chance passing on something to them.

post #3 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post

I get the flu shot.  I work for a large healthcare organization and it is mandatory.  There is a clause in our employment contracts that if we refuse it (for any reason including religious or philosophical or medical) then we will be terminated immediately.  It's not a big enough issue for me to feel like fighting it.  I work with people who are already sick/weakened and I don't want to chance passing on something to them.

 

Gosh this is just dispicable. I could never work for an organization like this! I mean there are people that have had severe life threatening reactions to the flu shot or are deathly allergic to eggs. You're telling me those people would be fired for refusing the flu shot? How can that be? I can see them refusing a religious exemption (I dont agree with it, but I know they can do it) but a verifiable medical problem? I can't see how that is legal?

post #4 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post

I get the flu shot.  I work for a large healthcare organization and it is mandatory.  There is a clause in our employment contracts that if we refuse it (for any reason including religious or philosophical or medical) then we will be terminated immediately.  It's not a big enough issue for me to feel like fighting it.  I work with people who are already sick/weakened and I don't want to chance passing on something to them.

 

Gosh this is just dispicable. I could never work for an organization like this! I mean there are people that have had severe life threatening reactions to the flu shot or are deathly allergic to eggs. You're telling me those people would be fired for refusing the flu shot? How can that be? I can see them refusing a religious exemption (I dont agree with it, but I know they can do it) but a verifiable medical problem? I can't see how that is legal?

 At our facility they do allow Medical exemptions. You have to have all of the allergy/reaction paperwork filled out by your MD.

post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post

 

Gosh this is just dispicable. I could never work for an organization like this! I mean there are people that have had severe life threatening reactions to the flu shot or are deathly allergic to eggs. You're telling me those people would be fired for refusing the flu shot? How can that be? I can see them refusing a religious exemption (I dont agree with it, but I know they can do it) but a verifiable medical problem? I can't see how that is legal?

 

Employees who were hired before the clause and had existing exemptions were grandfathered in--in that they don't loose their jobs.  However, during flu season they are required to work in non-patient care areas and must still wear masks.  This means that clinicians such as RNs end up working with laundry or doing office work during flu season.

 

For everyone else, you are explicitly told about the vaccine requirements before filling out the application, before a job offer is made, and before you sign the contract.  It isn't hidden.  People with known allergies to vaccine components don't apply or don't accept the job.  It's unfortunate for sure because I'm certain that some quality care providers look elsewhere because of this.  If you didn't know of an allergy, signed the contract, and then later found out about an allergy that would prevent you from getting the flu shot then you would loose your job.  I don't know what kind of legal oomph is behind it--but it's a large organization, not a little community one.

 

For what it's worth, this isn't entirely unheard of.  I went to nursing school in a different area of the country.  I had a documented severe allergy to the pertussis vaccine as a child.  I brought the documentation to the attention of the school dean (and this, again, was a large well-known private university).  The response?  Get the vaccine booster or forfeit your acceptance to the school.  I ended up getting the vaccine, took some precautions, and didn't have too bad of a reaction this time around.  

 

Wanting to work as a nurse and also wanting to refuse vaccines can be a very challenging road to walk down.

post #6 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post 

 

Wanting to work as a nurse and also wanting to refuse vaccines can be a very challenging road to walk down.

 yeahthat.gif

 

When I began my work as a nurse, I didn't think twice about vaccines. But two kids and one vax reaction later and now it's a whole different world to me.

post #7 of 55

...And that's why I decided to stay away from the nursing career. I recently decided not to go through with my nursing degree and went a different direction because I know a couple of gals who got fired for refusing (one was a medical exemption). One of my friends couldn't complete her clinicals and therefore, couldn't graduate. It sucks, it really really sucks. I've always wanted to be a nurse too. greensad.gif But, I don't want to have to fight a battle every flu season. 

post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnra View Post

 

Employees who were hired before the clause and had existing exemptions were grandfathered in--in that they don't loose their jobs.  However, during flu season they are required to work in non-patient care areas and must still wear masks.  This means that clinicians such as RNs end up working with laundry or doing office work during flu season.

 

For everyone else, you are explicitly told about the vaccine requirements before filling out the application, before a job offer is made, and before you sign the contract.  It isn't hidden.  People with known allergies to vaccine components don't apply or don't accept the job.  It's unfortunate for sure because I'm certain that some quality care providers look elsewhere because of this.  If you didn't know of an allergy, signed the contract, and then later found out about an allergy that would prevent you from getting the flu shot then you would loose your job.  I don't know what kind of legal oomph is behind it--but it's a large organization, not a little community one.

 

For what it's worth, this isn't entirely unheard of.  I went to nursing school in a different area of the country.  I had a documented severe allergy to the pertussis vaccine as a child.  I brought the documentation to the attention of the school dean (and this, again, was a large well-known private university).  The response?  Get the vaccine booster or forfeit your acceptance to the school.  I ended up getting the vaccine, took some precautions, and didn't have too bad of a reaction this time around.  

 

Wanting to work as a nurse and also wanting to refuse vaccines can be a very challenging road to walk down.

 That is disgusting - truly disgusting. Basically shows that this organization could give 2 S***T's about it's employees. I can understand having a clause in there so that people that have had known reactions or allergies can choose to look for employment elsewhere, but to take away someone's job and render them unemployed and unable to feed their family possibly, because they might develop an allergy later in life (happens all the time) or might have a horrific reaction to a vaccine through no fault of their own is just DISGUSTING.  That group of people (and  I can imagine it would be quite small) could be made to work in other areas like the grandfathered folks. If that ever happened to someone honestly they would have a wrongful termination lawsuit on their hands.  

post #9 of 55

What about shedding? Do they use the flu-mist vaccine or shots?

 

I honestly believe that no employer should have the right to mandate vaccines especially not when there has been medical problems before or after a vaccination. That is just outright discrimination.

 

I wish the OP good luck in getting an excemption.

post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to update that I did end up getting the flu shot. I completely disagree with the policy though. Had I not gotten it I would have had to wear an "indicator" on my badge so people would know and wear a mask all of the time through March/April. I feel a little diappointed in myself, but had to weigh lots of things (like keeping my job so my kids can stay in Waldorf school) and decided this was the best decision for my family. At least it was me and not the my kids who had to get it.

 

Any other healthcare workers out there decide what they are going to do?

post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by wish View Post

Just wanted to update that I did end up getting the flu shot. I completely disagree with the policy though. Had I not gotten it I would have had to wear an "indicator" on my badge so people would know and wear a mask all of the time through March/April. I feel a little diappointed in myself, but had to weigh lots of things (like keeping my job so my kids can stay in Waldorf school) and decided this was the best decision for my family. 

 

But it wasn't a question of keeping your job--just having to wear a mask and an indicator on your badge, right? Which is still way too much and totally obnoxious of the hospital, but much different than being fired for not getting the vaccine, which is what many nurses face.

post #12 of 55
Thread Starter 

Yes, it is true that I did have that option. I just had so many thoughts going through my head when trying to make the decision, that I suppose that is how it felt.  At the facility I worked before this, there was no option other than losing your job. I feel for those having to make these difficult decisions when there are no other options.

 

My arm aches terribly today, espeically in the joints. greensad.gif

post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by wish View Post

Yes, it is true that I did have that option. I just had so many thoughts going through my head when trying to make the decision, that I suppose that is how it felt.  At the facility I worked before this, there was no option other than losing your job. I feel for those having to make these difficult decisions when there are no other options.

 

My arm aches terribly today, espeically in the joints. greensad.gif

Don't beat yourself up over it.

 

A lot of adults take risks with themselves they would not take with their kids - we are, after all, adults.  Our bodies are often better able to handle a vaccine, and we know our own medical history and are more likely to know if a vaccine is a good idea.

 

I hope you arm feels better soon!  

 

Stay away from Tylenol for the arm pain:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFlu/tylenol-shots-hurt-vaccines-effectiveness/story?id=8840239#.UGHu6Y6RB7E


Edited by kathymuggle - 9/25/12 at 12:06pm
post #14 of 55

I had a sore arm & joints in my hand for a couple of days after my flu shot once. It went away on its own after a little while. I'm a health care worker as well, and I'll take that minor reaction in exchange for decreasing the likelihood of exposing my patients. That, plus I had the flu once and it totally sucked, so I'd rather be less likely to get the flu myself as well (or to have the toddler get it, particularly as the vaccine isn't all that effective in that population). 

 

As for the mask/indicator on badge, as far as I'm concerned patients in a hospital deserve to have knowledge of what risks they take in their care. If the provider taking care of them isn't vaccinated, they deserve to know that. 

post #15 of 55
I had a sore arm following the H1N1 vaccines. I read at the time it was a common side effect related to the type of adjuvant used. It went without problem after a few days.

The recommendations about avoiding Tylenol to improve vaccinate effectiveness only apply to giving it before the vaccination in order to reduce fever. You should be fine with your pain medication of choice, although I would think ibuprofen best for this kind of deep muscle ache.

Good on you for projecting your patients.

Flu shots do not shed., so no need to worry there.
post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post


Flu shots do not shed., so no need to worry there.

 

http://experimentalvaccines.org/2012/08/18/sneezing-the-new-wmd-weaponized-mucus-device/

 

Sneezing the New WMD Weaponized Mucus Device

 on  at 7:15 pm

post #17 of 55

A bit of a sensationalist article, there. It is a valid point, perhaps, that the nasal vaccine may not be great in a population that isn't good at covering their sneezes. The fact remains that the injectable flu vaccine, which the OP got, is an inactivated virus and therefore does not shed.

post #18 of 55

I'm in the same boat.  I've never had a flu shot.  I don't believe in them.   I've been with my company for 8 years and I've been able to decline it.  This year it is mandatory.  I could wear the mask, but I just feel like that's miserable and uncomfortable and not very practical.  I think I'll probably reluctantly take the shot.  

post #19 of 55

I am an RN too and we have mandatory flu vaccines at the hospital I work for.  I refused the first few years and managed to fly under the radar without anyone noticing, but in the last few years they have been cracking down.  If we don't get the vaccine we get fired.  If you have a documented allergy or sensitivity or religious objection, you can get an exemption, but you have to wear a mask within 6 feet of patients/visitors at all times throughout the duration of the flu season.  I am sad to say that I ended up caving and just getting the shot because I couldn't stand wearing a mask for months on end.  It is so HOT and uncomfortable!  I am really angry about the whole policy though.  My employer should have no say in what I put in my body!  My boss isn't allowed to tell me to have sex with him or else I'll get fired or need to wear a mask for months on end.  How is it that he can tell me that I have to have a needle inserted into my arm and dead germs injected into my body?  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  My body does not belong to my employer and I should not be coerced into doing something with it that I don't want to. 

post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomRunner View Post

My boss isn't allowed to tell me to have sex with him or else I'll get fired or need to wear a mask for months on end.  How is it that he can tell me that I have to have a needle inserted into my arm and dead germs injected into my body?  Wrong, wrong, wrong!  My body does not belong to my employer and I should not be coerced into doing something with it that I don't want to. 

 

This isn't the same as vaccines--You having sex with your boss would not increase the likelihood of your immunocompromised patients contracting a sexually transmitted disease.  

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