Hiring a nurse that's a carrier of MRSA - Can that happen?

  1. Hello.

    I was wondering if somebody can give me a solid, credible answer to this question that I have wondered for years. I am in my fourth year of undergraduate school, but I am not a nursing major. A few years back (when I was a pre-nursing major), I had an RN tell me that if I was a carrier of MRSA that nobody would ever hire me as a nurse, so I shyed away from going down the nursing career path and changed my major. I'm still interested in pursuing nursing and have been looking at many Direct Entry MSN programs for graduates with degrees in non-nursing fields. A few years ago, I had a few MRSA infections and since then I haven't had any infections. About three years ago I was tested from a culture in my nose and was officially told that I was a carrier of MRSA. Before, I really decide to continue with my education, I need to know whether or not a hospital or any company would hire a registered nurse which is a carrier of MRSA? Is this simply a rumor or would it be a waste of time to pursue a nursing career as a carrier of MRSA and never get hired?

    Thank you so much in advance for any information anyone can provide me with.
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    About Halla17

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 15; Likes: 1
    from US


  3. by   netglow
    Well, Well... so I hear, many healthcare workers would then be out of jobs.
  4. by   cookienay
    First of all, I can't see that specific question coming up in a job interview. Secondly, I doubt it is legal to ask it. THirdly, I am laughing at the nurse that told you that. Why? Because it is certain that she is probably carrying MRSA as well. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. And please, don't let this stop you from pursuing your chosen path!
  5. by   vashtee
    My study-buddy from nursing school is a carrier, and she was hired with no problem... she was one of the top of the class...
  6. by   zacarias
    An HIV + nurse can get a job as a nurse so why can't a person colonized with MRSA?

    Most of us have colonized staph aureus on our bodies..some of us have methicilin-sensitive and some of us don't, so a "MRSA carrier" will not have a problem getting a job on that basis.
    Last edit by zacarias on Feb 9, '09 : Reason: editing
  7. by   rabbitgirrl
    I don't have a solid answer, but I can only believe that most of us are colonized with MANY strains of just about everything-how could we not be? All the handwashing in the world won't keep us germ-free after spending 20-80 hours a week speeding around a hospital for years. If someone made a rule like this and started testing nurses, there really wouldn't be anyone left nursing.
  8. by   travel50
    I suspect we all are carriers of something. I carry strep. My throat has been swabed for strep several times when I was not sick to check for this (long story), and it is always positive for strep. Yet I have never had strep. No one is going to ask you what you might be a carrier of. And if they do, it is none of their business.
  9. by   GooeyRN
    How would your potential employer know that you are a carrier? A LOT of nurses would be out of jobs.....
  10. by   WindyhillBSN
    I think we all have it..........................
  11. by   HeartsOpenWide
    If some one with AIDs can be a nurse then some one with MRSA can too. Many nurses carry MRSA, almost all nurses carry s.aureus in their nares according to my old Micro teacher.
  12. by   PolaBar
    Quote from HeartsOpenWide
    If some one with AIDs can be a nurse then some one with MRSA can too. Many nurses carry MRSA, almost all nurses carry s.aureus in their nares according to my old Micro teacher.
    While I don't think that someone with MRSA can/should be denied simply for carrying a bacteria that a large portion of the population carries, MRSA and HIV/AIDS have some fundamental differences. An HIV infected person should be more concerned with their self-protection, as they are immunocompromised. Their HIV status isn't a risk to patients. A person with MRSA would have the chance to 'spread' it to their immunocompromised patients, who could acquire an oppertunistic infection. AIDS/HIV isn't spread through touching/casual contact, as MRSA can be.
  13. by   rngolfer53
    Think there's a nursing shortage now?

    Wait until they fire all the MRSA + folks running around.
  14. by   blinks14
    I had heard that our Infectious Disease department had once picked a nursing unit to swab to see what the incidence of MRSA was and it turned out they never released the results presumably because so many actually carried it.