Codes

  1. So some time ago I was working as a nurse extern and of course on my paper work I revealed that I was HIV positive. I have been my whole life and I'm healthy meaning that I take my medication and do what I'm told. It not a big deal daily. I was told I might need to consider some other field other than bedside nursing cause I may be in danger during a code due to my status. Do to my status being a huge issue with my nursing director period I didn't follow into this or ask how. I'm still a student and I have zero idea about a code as I never been in one. How exactly would I be in danger??? At the time I was told a lot of things that was made to push me away after my status was revealed. I was no longer given the attention as some of the other externs. Being that it is a sensitive topic for me I let my Job go. Is it true that I could be in danger or my patient in danger during a code... or is that something being told to me??
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Apples&Oranges
    1. You never, ever have to (or should) reveal any medical information about yourself to your employer unless it directly impacts your ability to provide care. HIV status does not impact your ability to provide safe care in any way.

    2. In a "code" or rapid response situation, you are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more likely to get a patient's body fluids on you than the other way around. Unless you inadvertently stick yourself, tear your skin on a protruding bone or get bitten while establishing an airway, (I actually had to struggle to think of 3 things, there,) you would not be exposing the patient or anyone else to your blood.

    Honestly, in my experience, you are more likely to have a blood exposure while understaffed and rushing to give a heparin shot than during a rapid response. Even then, the one at risk is you, not the patient.

    3. Standard precautions are plenty to protect everyone in 90+ percent of exposure situations. Again, the precautions are there mostly to protect the nurse and the immunocompromised patient you see NEXT...not the one you are actually interacting with.

    Unless you are planning on going into work and bleeding all over a bunch of peoples' wounds, I can't see how your HIV status would make one single, solitary bit of difference. I take care of patients with HIV, Hep-C, etc. all the time, drawing blood, putting in IVs, cleaning bloody wounds, emptying drains, taking out sutures and staples...I've never once done anything differently than I would for any other patient. Honestly, I can't put in IVs with gloves on - I know I'll get my hand smacked for this in the replies - but my skin is intact. If I get an HIV or Hep-C positive patient's blood on me, I wash my hands thoroughly, just like I do before and after all patient care. I've never lost a moment's sleep over it.

    If I had to guess, the person who told you that is both ignorant of how transmission of bloodborne pathogens works (they should redo their competencies!) and has an unhealthy dose of irrational fear.

    You will be absolutely fine.
    Last edit by Apples&Oranges on Sep 25
  4. by   brownbook
    Discrimination against persons with HIV & AIDS is prohibited by federal law. ... Although an employer can always consider health and safety when making employment decisions, HIV transmission will very rarely be considered a legitimate direct threat to safety.
    HIV & AIDS and Employment Discrimination | Human Rights Campaign
    HIV & AIDS and Employment Discrimination | Human Rights Campaign

    Please do not listen to idiots. You should know more than the average person that HIV is not as easily transmitted as many other diseases.

    Many nurses go through their whole career never participating in a code.

    If you happen to participate in a code.....how in the heck would you bleed on the patient????? The patient bleeds on the medical care professionals, not the other way around! (Of course health care professionals properly gown and glove so there is little chance of being exposed.)

    I was assisting with GI procedures recently when the charge nurse made a point of calling into the procedure room to let us know the next patient was HIV positive. I didn't care, I knew it was of no concern, but the GI doctor asked what the call was about, I told him and he said a HIV positive patient taking their medications has (I forget exactly how he said it...but) has little if any viral load!

    I would love for you to work in the health care field, be a role model for HIV positive patients and educate any idiotic co-workers.
    Last edit by brownbook on Sep 25
  5. by   LNOUVRESE
    Thank you for the answers. The only reason I disclosed this information was to prevent complications during my career. I was expecting a long term position and thought about the possibility of finger stick and testing and so forth, but I’m not clear on the process. I now know to keep it my business. I now look back on all the behavior directed towards me that prevented me from moving forward...I never want to be that difficult person. The one who has issues with the nursing director. I’m still a young adult (a child to my mother ������) learning to speak up for myself. And I recently told my mother why I quit. Thanks everybody
  6. by   Pixie.RN
    OP, I am so sorry you encountered such ignorance. Please don't let it keep you from your goals!
  7. by   Apples&Oranges
    I actually can't believe this is not a featured post - maybe it it not as commented on or "liked" as some of the silly stuff that is trending today...maybe the mods could push it onto the right hand bar? This seems to be the kind of post that could actually be important and relevant to new nurses and students (as opposed to "xyz nursing school" "Will i get in with a 2.1 GPA....HELLLLP?" or "I have to study and have no friends..." Just saying...

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