Positive TB & New Employment - page 2

by paperbagdove245, BSN, RN | 12,232 Views | 16 Comments

OK. New to this. But to sum things up... I just graduated nursing school in August. My TB test was coming up on being due, so I got it renewed then. It was probably positive. It itched like crazy, swelled up, and in a... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from paperbagdove245
    OK. New to this. But to sum things up...

    I just graduated nursing school in August. My TB test was coming up on being due, so I got it renewed then. It was probably positive. It itched like crazy, swelled up, and in a panic, I iced it like crazy before going in. (Stupid, I know, no lectures - but keep in mind that I hadn't shown a single symptom of any illness in almost 3 years at this point and had a long history of negative tests.)

    They originally read it as positive, but I knew I was in a sticky situation, being a new grad. My family is so poor, on the verge of losing everything, and the only way we kept our lights on through school was with my small student loan installments. I knew any delay in employment could mean losing everything, and I started crying. So they kept calling new people over, who read it smaller and smaller, until it was declared negative. Yup. The pity pass.

    So it STILL took me this long to find a new job. We are bordering on having to pull my daughter out of her preschool, and our rent has been late for the last 2 months. AND I NEED ANOTHER PPD TEST. I start on the 5th. I have my test Wednesday, read on Friday.


    Now, I KNOW I'm healthy - not so much as a sniffle in almost 3 years. Not even a head-cold. Really. So I know a cxr would be negative, absolutely. My question is this - while I can probably secure an x-ray before the 5th, no problem, can they force me to wait months until I'm well established on the prophylactic antibiotics as well? And if the position isn't open then? Can they halt my employment for this? NO ONE at this major corporation can give me a straight answer. And there's been radio silence from my instructors. I know plenty of nurses who converted during their career, and I'm not worried anymore. I could give a CRAP if I croak 20 years from now - as long as my daughter has food tomorrow, you know?

    What are the legalities involved? Can they withhold employment? I can't sleep over this...
    Pity Pass????
    JustBeachyNurse likes this.
  2. 1
    Pity pass? Are you sure that qualified professionals were reading your test? Was there an induration? (My site swells & itches and basically turns into a giant hive, BUT there is NO induration. A new MA at my docs' office was going to mark my PPD as positive when the MD corrected her explaining it's not by sight/redness/swelling but by induration.) If you were positive in the past why not skip the PPD and go to CXray? My local health department does the TB screening at low or no cost.

    either way like others explained +PPD is only indicative of exposure to the mycobacterium. From the CDC"
    Testing for TB Infection

    There are two kinds of tests that can be used to help detect TB infection – the TB skin test (TST) and TB blood tests. A positive TB skin test or TB blood test only tells that a person has been infected with TB bacteria. It does not tell whether the person has latent TB infection (LTBI) or has progressed to TB disease. Other tests, such as a chest x-ray and a sample of sputum, are needed to see whether the person has TB disease." http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/testing/default.htm

    e mycobacterium not indicitive of active or latent infection. From CDC "
    dbowen likes this.
  3. 0
    Quote from Esme12
    If your test was truly positive 3 years ago.....shame on you for not following up...... I find it unusual that the school did not require a negative TB test for admission to school. Whether or not you are sick does not mean that you aren't contageous and a carrier. Many people are positive converters with never having true "exposure" and just require a chest x-ray. Legally, if you have a communicable disease you can be removed from employment.

    http://www.hivatwork.org/tools/pdf_m...lace/tbhiv.pdf

    http://www.cdc.gov/TB/

    YOu should seek the advice of a doctor....Good Luck on your new job.
    I never had a positive test. Not once. Until a COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. I said I GOT it sometime during nursing school, but was using the 3 years of not being sick to illustrate that I am not ill and will likely have a neg. cxr. THAT IS ALL.

    Do NOT imply that I am that stupid or have such blatant disregard for others.
  4. 0
    Whatever the circumstances were for my last PPD test - whether the tears got me through it (it was read by the COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT), whether I'm a HUGE **** for sitting on it for a lousy 3 MONTHS until I was employed and I could VOLUNTEER for another extraneous ppd test and just get the cxr and abx over with on my own...

    Doesn't matter. I was TOLD by several hospital employees that a positive ppd means I CANNOT WORK IN A HOSPITAL. But then they say, oh, hey, I don't really know...

    I ONLY WANTED TO KNOW WHAT THEY WILL REQUIRE OF ME BEFORE LETTING ME WORK IF THE PPD IS POSITIVE.

    If a neg cxr is all it takes, I don't have to look for homeless shelters. If I have to wait months for the antibiotics to meet some sort of horrible standard, then I need to start packing what I can out of my apartment and look for a foster family for my four year old daughter. Things are THAT bad, and we qualify for no aid whatsoever. I've been trying since I graduated. PA is horrid.

    THAT'S all I wanted to know. I NEED to start this job on the 5th. NEED. So if something I was exposed to during school BEFORE I EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO GET PAID FOR WHAT I WAS DOING is preventing me from keeping my family afloat...

    ...well, you see the irony. And the reason I've been crying off and on for the last week and reaching out to everyone I could think of before I risked posting on here.

    I just want to know if my job offer can legally be taken away from me. I don't think I could survive it, and as my physical draws near, I am so terrified. And no one will answer me on what the requirements are. I don't need to know what needs to happen with a positive ppd, morally. I'm totally rockin' with that. I KNOW tuberculosis. I don't need to know about that. And I don't need reassurances about my own health. While I care about passing it to others (yeah, I'll meet whatever standards are needed and then some), I don't give a crap about getting sick myself.

    It's all about my family now, and I just want to know if I can be kept out of my job for this - even if I don't have active disease.

    You guys are the only people who have taken the time to answer me, and I THANK YOU!!!
  5. 2
    Quote from paperbagdove245
    Whatever the circumstances were for my last PPD test - whether the tears got me through it (it was read by the COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT), whether I'm a HUGE **** for sitting on it for a lousy 3 MONTHS until I was employed and I could VOLUNTEER for another extraneous ppd test and just get the cxr and abx over with on my own...

    Doesn't matter. I was TOLD by several hospital employees that a positive ppd means I CANNOT WORK IN A HOSPITAL. But then they say, oh, hey, I don't really know...

    I ONLY WANTED TO KNOW WHAT THEY WILL REQUIRE OF ME BEFORE LETTING ME WORK IF THE PPD IS POSITIVE.

    If a neg cxr is all it takes, I don't have to look for homeless shelters. If I have to wait months for the antibiotics to meet some sort of horrible standard, then I need to start packing what I can out of my apartment and look for a foster family for my four year old daughter. Things are THAT bad, and we qualify for no aid whatsoever. I've been trying since I graduated. PA is horrid.

    THAT'S all I wanted to know. I NEED to start this job on the 5th. NEED. So if something I was exposed to during school BEFORE I EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO GET PAID FOR WHAT I WAS DOING is preventing me from keeping my family afloat...

    ...well, you see the irony. And the reason I've been crying off and on for the last week and reaching out to everyone I could think of before I risked posting on here.

    I just want to know if my job offer can legally be taken away from me. I don't think I could survive it, and as my physical draws near, I am so terrified. And no one will answer me on what the requirements are. I don't need to know what needs to happen with a positive ppd, morally. I'm totally rockin' with that. I KNOW tuberculosis. I don't need to know about that. And I don't need reassurances about my own health. While I care about passing it to others (yeah, I'll meet whatever standards are needed and then some), I don't give a crap about getting sick myself.

    It's all about my family now, and I just want to know if I can be kept out of my job for this - even if I don't have active disease.

    You guys are the only people who have taken the time to answer me, and I THANK YOU!!!
    I have two friends who have gotten positive PPDs. Both were cleared to work in acute care facilities after getting chest x-rays. So a positive PPD isn't necessarily a career killer. IMO, get that chest x-ray. Even though your result may have been ruled negative, the fact that there was significant debate over what the result was means that you should get it checked out anyway. Talk to your employee occupational health department ASAP, as it's they and not random hospital employees who would have the final say in clearing you for work.

    As far as your whole PPD debacle, the fact that you have had negative PPDs in the past doesn't mean you'll never have a positive one. Nor does a positive PPD mean you definitely have TB because other things besides an exposure could have triggered a positive.

    The ethics of what you did are very gray...yes, you did what you needed to for your family to survive financially, but in doing so could have potentially put patients, coworkers--and your family--at risk should you actually have the infection. You're the one that needs to resolve that ethical dilemma though.

    Best of luck whatever you decide.
    BluegrassRN and wetzoo like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from paperbagdove245
    i never had a positive test. not once. until a couple of months ago. i said i got it sometime during nursing school, but was using the 3 years of not being sick to illustrate that i am not ill and will likely have a neg. cxr. that is all.

    do not imply that i am that stupid or have such blatant disregard for others.
    hey it's your post......

    "it was probably positive. it itched like crazy, swelled up, and in a panic, i iced it like crazy before going in."
    "they originally read it as positive, but i knew i was in a sticky situation, being a new grad. my family is so poor, on the verge of losing everything, and the only way we kept our lights on through school was with my small student loan installments. i knew any delay in employment could mean losing everything, and i started crying. so they kept calling new people over, who read it smaller and smaller, until it was declared negative. yup. the pity pass."

    i said i got it sometime during nursing school, but was using the 3 years of not being sick to illustrate that i am not ill and will likely have a neg. cxr. that is all.

    do not imply that i am that stupid or have such blatant disregard for others." end quote

    so for your education:

    latent tb infection and tb disease


    not everyone infected with tb bacteria becomes sick. as a result, two tb-related conditions exist: latent tb infection and active tb disease.
    • latent tb infection


    • tb bacteria can live in your body without making you sick. this is called latent tb infection (ltbi). in most people who breathe in tb bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. people with latent tb infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. the only sign of tb infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or special tb blood test. people with latent tb infection are not infectious and cannot spread tb bacteria to others. however, if tb bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will get sick with tb disease.
    • tb disease

      tb bacteria become active if the immune system can't stop them from growing. when tb bacteria are active (multiplying in your body), this is called tb disease. tb disease will make you sick. people with tb disease may spread the bacteria to people they spend time with every day. many people who have latent tb infection never develop tb disease. some people develop tb disease soon after becoming infected (within weeks) before their immune system can fight the tb bacteria. other people may get sick years later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason.
      for persons whose immune systems are weak, especially those with hiv infection, the risk of developing tb disease is much higher than for persons with normal immune systems.
    the difference between latent tb infection and tb disease

    a person with latent tb infectiona person with tb disease• has no symptoms
    • has symptoms that may include:
    - a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
    - pain in the chest
    - coughing up blood or sputum
    - weakness or fatigue
    - weight loss
    - no appetite
    - chills
    - fever
    - sweating at night
    a person with latent tb does not feel sick and you cannot spread tb bacteria to others. you will usually has a skin test or blood test result indicating tb infection• usually has a skin test or blood test result indicating tb infection• has a normal chest x-ray and a negative sputum smear• needs treatment for latent tb infection to prevent active tb disease•
    http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm

    hey, easy, i did nothing to imply that you were stupid and if i did i'm sorry. the links for the cdc will help answer your questions...http://www.cdc.gov/tb/ including questions about employment.

    you are not the only person is a "bad" place financially so don't assume you are the only one. you have no reference as to anyone elses hardships or what they are going through.......i am speaking from personal experience myself. you came here for information with a question and we answered. i apologize if it wasn't what you wanted to hear i was sincere when i said good luck in your new job! peace
    Last edit by Esme12 on Nov 21, '11
  7. 2
    You don't know you exposed during your schooling. You might have been exposed any where
    JustBeachyNurse and iteachob like this.


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