New Nurse with hepatitis C

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    Hi, I graduate in December with my BSN with a high GPA and honors. I have over 10 years clean but I used to be an injection drug user and acquired hepatitis C. I always follow standard precautions and am safe. Will I be discriminated against in pre-employment physicals? Can I refuse being tested for hep c so they don't know? Will I be ok to use my degree and fulfill my dream to be a nurse? I will be practicing in california. What are my options?
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

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    You should be fine as long as while working follow strict universal precaution. They should not be discriminated against you base on your pre-existed condition.
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    Do they test for hep c? I know hep b titers are done. The only way they would know is if you disclose and I don't feel that it would cause any discrimination.
    mappers likes this.
  6. 0
    No one has to know HOW you got the Hep C if they do find out you do have it. Doubt they can ask how anyways. I would absolutely not tell them. (Unless you have a conviction somewhere that they'd find out about).
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    They can screen you for communicable disease as part of a pre-employment physical, and probably will. Not all places do comprehensive screening, it is expensive. My present job limited the screening to TB gold. I didn't even have to provide a UDS! I just had to agree (in writing) to do so on demand if ever asked. I have had to give vials of blood for more comprehensive screening in the past, including being tested for HIV, titers for hepatitis B, rubella, varicella, and I cannot even recall what else. I cannot predict if they will rescind a job offer due to +HCV. I suspect there are areas that probably would: L&D, NICU, peds, surgery. Do you like behavioral heath? They probably wouldn't care. Lots of other places probably would not. I think they would keep you away from laboring women and infants, and out of the OR. Not because you are an actual threat to those patients, but because there is enough litigation stemming from those areas already, lol.
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    I can't imagine being discriminated against for having hep C. I could be wrong here, but is HIV+ not a protected class? If so, this would be the same thing. It would be outrageous if any employer DID discriminate against you.
  9. 0
    I would have to agree with some other posters. Isn't it illegal to discriminate for employment against someone because of their health/diseases? I mean, we are all supposed to use standard precautions regardless of any kind of medical history. It's not like nurses make a habit of sharing body fluids in any way...


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