Refuse TB test

  1. Do I have the right to refuse the TB skin test? I work at two places and it seems like between them I'm getting a TB test every 6 months, one won't take the other's results, I am tired of it and I looked around and saw that the test is made with a known carcinogen. It just seems like every other day they are coming at me with a needle trying to inject me with something "for my safety." I am just fed up and I don't want anymore TB tests unless I know I have been exposed. But I don't want to be difficult either--so do I have the right to refuse? Can I be fired?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   meandragonbrett
    You could try and refuse? But I doubt your excuse about it containing a carcinogen will fly. I think that TB skin tests should be the least of your worries consider all of the other occupational hazzards we're exposed to.
  4. by   bargainhound
    maybe getting your family physician to help document would help
  5. by   TazziRN
    It is required for employment in the health care field; unless you're allergic to the solution you can't refuse. Try asking if you can substitute a chest x-ray in place of it at one facility so you're only injected once a year. Yes, you'll have radiation, but you're going to have to choose the lesser of two evils.
  6. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from Happy-ER-RN
    Do I have the right to refuse the TB skin test? I work at two places and it seems like between them I'm getting a TB test every 6 months, one won't take the other's results, I am tired of it and I looked around and saw that the test is made with a known carcinogen. It just seems like every other day they are coming at me with a needle trying to inject me with something "for my safety." I am just fed up and I don't want anymore TB tests unless I know I have been exposed. But I don't want to be difficult either--so do I have the right to refuse? Can I be fired?
    Well you could lie and say you had a vaccine in a foreign country and test positive from exposure, then you get a chest xray instead.

    Or you could say you were exposed as a child, did treatment with INH, and then get a chest xray.
  7. by   me-too
    To Happy-ER-RN:

    I may have the answer about your TB situation. That is, if you're TB positive. Although I am not a nurse, just considering it, I was exposed to TB as a child and every year while going to school I had to give chest x-rays. Well, I got fed up with that.

    So what I did was to talk to my dr. and he wrote me a letter stating that I was exposed to TB, and once you are exposed, you become a positive reactor. So, THEY WILL NOT TEST YOU. THEY CANNOT KEEP TESTING YOU.

    Then, it is up to the facility whether they will even insist on an x-ray.
    I had my dr. write that X-rays aren't indicated either.

    Theresa me-too
  8. by   TazziRN
    Quote from me-too
    To Happy-ER-RN:

    I may have the answer about your TB situation. That is, if you're TB positive. Although I am not a nurse, just considering it, I was exposed to TB as a child and every year while going to school I had to give chest x-rays. Well, I got fed up with that.

    So what I did was to talk to my dr. and he wrote me a letter stating that I was exposed to TB, and once you are exposed, you become a positive reactor. So, THEY WILL NOT TEST YOU. THEY CANNOT KEEP TESTING YOU.

    Then, it is up to the facility whether they will even insist on an x-ray.
    I had my dr. write that X-rays aren't indicated either.

    Theresa me-too
    She isn't positive, that's the problem. If she were she wouldn't have to be tested. Having her doc write that xr's aren't necessary won't work, healthcare workers have to prove every year that we have not contracted it.
  9. by   lorster
    This nurse should not have to do two TB skin tests every year. Why should an employee be subjected to these if they have never had a reaction. Once a year should be enough. If you become positive, you have to have a chest xray for x number of years then a doctors note clearing you of TB by examination, ie: no apparent symptoms. The OP should call the CDC and get recommendations. I converted to positive several years ago and found out from someone at the CDC that I didnt have to nor did they advise yearly xrays anymore. So, my doctor writes a note each year for my employer and they are satisfied. No one should have to be exposed to TB testing or xrays more often than absolutely necessary. At some point, common sense needs to override red tape and that is what is going on in this situation. Talk to the CDC, they are more than happy to answer questions and reccomend what you should do in your particular situation. Don't do something that is not good for you just because someone says you have to do it. Ask questions, get answers and don't be a sheep.
  10. by   caliotter3
    I have had multiple employers and they have accepted each other's documentation for TB tests. Then they got the idea that we needed two step TB tests, but nobody could explain the criteria for a two step test. I found it easier to just get a test every 6 months at my own expense, and everybody was happy when they got a copy of the test results. I have researched the two step test on the internet twice and only recently found out what the real criteria is: two tests, one week apart. One of my employers recently stated they only required a two step upon original hire. Well, I've decided to go back to once a year, since I pay for these myself. Anything else that employers want to throw at me, I intend to ask for reimbursement for. Your employers who won't accept documentation of properly administered tests are being very unreasonable. At the very least, they should then pay for or provide your tests. This certainly does not present a good case for credibility amongst healthcare entities.
  11. by   OneChattyNurse
    [font="comic sans ms"]i am allergic to the serum and end up with a 6 inch bright red circle on my arm that itches like crazy. it usually lasts for about 3 weeks. i now do not have to do tb tests anymore and my employer does not do cxr's either. i go to our occ health office and they take my bp and ask about chronoc coughs and that's about it.

    i don't have the two employer issue, but how about having your physician give your tb test every year then supplying each employer with a copy? maybe they would both accept it from her/him more readily than another employer? just a thought.
  12. by   dria
    Asking your personal MD for the test is a great idea, however, be warned that it will NOT be covered by your personal health insurance since it is done for the purpose of obtaining/continuing employment (as opposed to diagnosing a suspected illness). I would suggest you look into your county health department. You can go to the county where you reside or where you are emplyed. I was able to obtain my test for around $20. You're paying taxes to support that health department anyway, might as well get some use out of it.
  13. by   meandragonbrett
    Quote from dria
    I was able to obtain my test for around $20.
    My PCP only charges $15, so it might not even be necessary to go to the health department.
  14. by   purplemania
    Depending on where you live the CDC may not even recommend a TB screen annually. We live in a low risk area so do not have to do it anymore unless exposed.

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