I want to work as a cna but im terrified of contagious diseases

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    Ok i have a question and im new to this website, so i dont know how to post my own question or make a thread, i don't really understand how this works yet. So here it goes, i am 18 a cna and applied for a part time position at a nursing home. I had mild ocd about germs and things like checking if my house doors are locked before going to bed several obsessive times. Thing is after getting really sick(personal) my ocd got worse, and i've gotten really afraid about being around people who have fatal and/or life threatening illnesses and/or diseases such as hiv. Being that i am afraid of catching any illnesses or diseases that are incurable i am highly concerned about working at a nursing home. I do not discriminate people with hiv but you have to be extremely precautious if you're ever in charge of taking care of one, and that's a situation i would prefer not to be in (no offense).My question is do they accept hiv positive elderly residents in long term care facilities? Also do they accept them in regular personal care facilities or is that discrimination? or if they have hiv do they have to be hospitalized instead? Because i don't want to go into the hospital scene because it gets a lot more serious. I'm just afraid. This would be my first job if i do get the offer and the pay is really good. Besides if i don't work at least 8 hours by may of 2014 my certification will expire and i will have lost all the money and time i invested to get certified. My parents are also concerned. Im just kind of in a tough spot. :/ Help please your opinion will be greatly appreciated. Also when i was at the nursing homes last year doing my clinical hours and interacting with patients, i didn't have any problems i was never afraid of catching anything from them, it's just now I'm such an ocd train wreck. Help!
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  3. 33 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    HIV is a blood borne pathogen, and you cannot get it just from being in contact with someone, unless they are actively bleeding and you don't use precautions, such as gloves (which you should use for everyone regardless). Just because a patient has HIV or another infectious disease doesn't mean that they don't deserve the same quality care as everyone else; so to answer your question, these patients will not be segregated--though they could possibly be in isolation depending on their illness. Perhaps the healthcare field isn't the best place for you, because there are germs EVERYWHERE!!! Good luck
    Glycerine82, sharpeimom, kabfighter, and 3 others like this.
  5. 4
    Unless you regularly go around swapping body fluids with your patients, one with HIV or one who is perfectly healthy makes no difference. That's why we have this wonderful thing called standard precautions. If you are really that scared, maybe you can arrange to meet with your ID rep and they can counsel and explain things about infectious diseases to you...
    kabfighter, KelRN215, SoldierNurse22, and 1 other like this.
  6. 4
    It's a logical fear to have, but once you've been a nurse you'll realize our precautions protect us and "catching something from the patient" is rare indeed.

    We're working with sick people in a controlled environment, with all the safeguards in place. I would imagine school teachers have a far bigger risk of catching something nasty than nurses do.
    sharpeimom, Tinker88, wannabecnl, and 1 other like this.
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    Checking if doors are locked before going to bed is not uncommon as you think, although considered strange.
    I would speak to a psychological therapists. Not saying in negative way, but they would be better able to differentiate between OCD and anxiety . For instance something's you blame for OCD may just be anxiety, thus lowering the OCD your perception of how much OCD you really have.

    People with HIV/AIDS get older eventually. That's
    another thing their not immune to. Some even hope they're around to get older.
    loriangel14, SoldierNurse22, and GrnTea like this.
  8. 0
    IMO your just scared!! You didn't have these fears during clinicals because you knew it was going to end.
    I check all my doors every night also, that's just fear that someone will break in when I'm sleeping.
    OCD is constantly checking your doors.
    I think you have more anxiety then OCD. I get it too when I start new things & at some point i have thought what if I stick myself & catch something, or harm someone. I'm sure it has crossed everyone's mind or most. But you can't think like that. That's like thinking when I get in my car I'm going to get hit by a drunk driver. It could happen but you can't live in fear, your tooo young!!
    Don't worry you'll be fine!! You don't deal with sharps, just remember PPE & stay alert (I know you won't have a problem with that) once your comfortable your anxiety will go away.
    Good Luck!! Keep us posted.
    Last edit by Meeh619 on Aug 2, '13
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    Even in the hospital many of our patients do not have diseases of the contagious kind. Diabetes, dementia, cancer, traumatic injuries and high blood pressure are the conditions many people have.
    Just do it. Pledge yourself to one day at a time and you can always quit if you can't handle the OCD fears.
  10. 0
    Quote from dt70
    Checking if doors are locked before going to bed is not uncommon as you think, although considered strange.
    I would speak to a psychological therapists. Not saying in negative way, but they would be better able to differentiate between OCD and anxiety . For instance something's you blame for OCD may just be anxiety, thus lowering the OCD your perception of how much OCD you really have.

    People with HIV/AIDS get older eventually. That's
    another thing their not immune to. Some even hope they're around to get older.
    I think speaking with someone about your OCD would be a good idea at this point. I know a lot of people who have OCD tendencies but it does not affect their daily lives. The problem is, yours may be at a point where it is going to affect you. If you can't be employed in your chosen profession because of your OCD that is a problem and one you should talk to someone professional about.

    All that being said, being in the nursing home is really not that different than being around people in the general public. Yes, there are certainly people who become ill and of course when one gets sick, it tends to get passed around, but again, that's normal for any environment, including a business office. As long as you use standard precautions, you have very little chance of catching a serious illness while working in a nursing home. You might come down with a few colds here or there but that's common for everyone.

    I'm sorry that this is hindering you but if you want to get through it then you should make an appt with a professional and get out there and get that job. You can do it!
  11. 0
    Hi I'm a CNA and I work at a rehab facility that also has a LTC unit. I usually take care of patients that are generally healthy they come in to get help transitioning from hospital to home however we do have a unit in our facility that was mixed so some did therapy some were respite care and others were long term. I have worked with all sorts of patients and I totally understand where you are coming from. Being afraid of catching something is a normal fear especially when starting a new journey like this. My advice to you is to use standard precautions and if you're truly afraid they have gowns, mask, and other things for you to use as well. Wash your hands before and after every patient. Just be professional and personable with your patients. They already feel a certain way about being in a situation like this. Don't make them feel worse about themselves by acting like you don't want to touch them or deal with them. They have feelings just as much as you and I do
  12. 9
    Think about it this way: how do you know if someone is HIV+? In a hospital or health care setting it may show up in their chart, but what about in public? At the grocery store? At a university? Public pool? 9/10 you don't! I assume you don't walk around town in a gown, mask, and gloves. You know how HIV is spread. Just follow standard precautions with all your patients and you will be a-okay.
    Twinmom06, loriangel14, KelRN215, and 6 others like this.


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