L&D RN w/ Herpes - Embarrassed

  1. I hate the stigma attached to HSV I contracted HSV2 about 8 years ago from an ex. I had the intial major outbreak and that has been it, thankfully. I have been in nursing for 9 years but just landed my dream job as an L&D nurse. Hubby and I plan to start having littles next year so my anxieties are already full blown thinking about my coworkers learning I have "the herp". Of course I am worried about my baby's health as well but I will be on Valtrex 3rd trimester and already had my intial outbreak which "helps". And this is all God willing I get pregnant..
    Is anyone else in my shoes and have any advice??! It will be very costly to deliver somewhere else. I will be discussing this further with my new OB doc who delivers where I work but I'm probably **** outta luck unless I go elsewhere because it will obviously be in my chart.
    Thanks you in advance for any support, advice, etc.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   quazar
    Your coworkers should NOT be judgmental about HSV. Many people have it, and it can lay dormant for years, unknown until an outbreak happens that they never saw coming. To equate HSV with being "dirty" is not only small minded and ignorant, it's unprofessional. Any nurse who knows the FACTS about HSV shouldn't judge you. They shouldn't judge you, period.

    If you're really worried, then deliver at another hospital other than your own. Your birth, your business. I have personally taken care of plenty of L&D nurses in labor who worked at other area hospitals precisely because they DIDN'T want to deliver where they worked. I understand the cost aspect, but sometimes peace of mind is worth paying extra. Food for thought.

    Please don't let this stress you out. You aren't "less than" because you have HSV, okay? It happened. It happens to a lot of people. When you get deeper into L&D you'll see this as evidenced by how many patients you come across with it in their histories. It's much more common than you think.
  4. by   Kr_nurse09
    Thank you so much quazar...I really needed to hear that!! I have to stop dwelling on it, as I am not even pregnant yet and you're right..it is my business. I will figure it out when the time comes. Thank you!
  5. by   klone
    Oh, honey. It is NOT a big deal! We see it all the time and don't think anything of it. We will judge you if you have been taking meth or smoking crack through your pregnancy. NOT because you have a history of HSV.
  6. by   LibraSunCNM
    I know nurses who delivered at different hospitals from where they worked for that exact reason, and I'm so sorry it's stressing you out, but as the others have said, it's really no big deal. Anyone who would make it a big deal is a jerk, or probably self-conscious that they have it too. Something like two thirds of the world's population has some form of a herpes virus, and a large portion of that is HSV 2. So, so common and nothing to feel "dirty" about or anything.
  7. by   adventure_rn
    I'm so sorry, that sounds like a stressful experience. I've been surprised by how snarky NICU nurses can be about it--it affects 30% of young adults, so whenever I hear people making a scene I think to myself that there must be plenty of nurses on the unit who have it and just aren't speaking up to tell them to knock it off. I worked in an STD clinic for my public health rotation in school, and it was considered such a minor issue that we didn't even test for it unless it was specifically causing problems.

    I'd just try to find an OB you feel comfortable with, and maybe you can have a coworker you trust attend the delivery?
  8. by   Kr_nurse09
    Thank you all for taking the time out to reply and make me feel a bit better It's so true that people who make fun of it obviously do not have all the facts and are just ignorant to it. Ugghhhh
  9. by   BostonFNP
    In the US, more than 1 in 6 people have HSV2, and if you lump genital HSV1+HSV2 infections together for women, it increases to 1 in 4. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.
  10. by   3ringnursing
    You PHI is privileged information. That being said, no one wants their coworker's pawing through there medical history either ...

    After 2 decades of various nursing positions I have settled down into a RN telephone triage position at a local organization that has primary care clinics all over town. Although we deal primarily with the underserved indigent population, we also have MD's, NP's, RN's and other non indigent patients.

    When I was hired I was faced with the option of choosing a PCP from among our organization for drastically reduced out of pocket costs, as well as being paid to go to any appts if I was off the clock for less than an hour -vs- privacy.

    The dilemma ...

    I'm a private person - I chose away for the simple reason you mentioned: I wished my PHI to remain that way.

    It wasn't really a difficult choice - I also chose an outside hospital to deliver my own baby more than 23 years ago. A PACU RN told me after I had mentioned my choice: "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't". I felt differently and still do. I like to keep my personal life and career separate - some may think it is ridiculous, but that is how I feel and I'm okay with it.

    HVP, although not delightful, is not as embarrassing as you would think. It's very common place now and nothing to be embarrassed about. If you are thinking I can say that because I myself am not positive, you would be incorrect. I even bet up to 30% of the L&D staff are positive too.

    Let me pose this question to you: if the outbreak was on your mouth would you be nearly as embarrassed?

    If the answer is no, consider L&D deals with below the waist, so the staff is greatly desensitized to anything you have in this area. I think you may be surprised that other people judge us less than we believe.

    I remember reading about the reality of to what degree other people really notice another person's imperfections (regarding a huge pimple, a bad haircut, how fat our butt looks in an outfit, or some other sensitive thing we are worried others may judge us for publicly):

    "The magnitude of how closely other people notice our flaws is likened to a fly sitting on the rump of a horse on the side of the highway as viewed from a passing car going 50 MPH" (us being the fly - in other words, not very much at all).

    I think you probably have already figured this out, but you really have (3) choices:

    1) Go elsewhere (and no one gives your medical history a second thought)

    2) Deliver at your own facility and continue to worry about it (and still no one gives your medical history a second thought)

    3) Deliver at your own facility and don't worry about it (still with no one giving your medical history a second thought)


    I hope this helps to make you feel somewhat better. We can't always decide the cards we are dealt in life, but how we perceive and react to them is our choice.

    I wish you and the hubby good luck in conceiving, and are blessed with healthy, happy babies in your future.
    Last edit by 3ringnursing on Jul 11
  11. by   RN_10
    Okay, I'm just going to leave this here. You do not work in NCLEX Hospital and the people you work with are human.
  12. by   TriChick
    If any of my coworkers were the type to think any different of my once learning I had a very common diagnosis, they are not the type whose approval and respect I would want anyway. If any of your coworkers are anything other than elated for you and the birth of your child, they aren't worth the energy it would take worrying about what they think. Don't feel embarrassed, you are a human being And good luck on your journey towards parenthood! It's one hell of a ride
  13. by   not2bblue
    I would definitely discuss with the charge nurse which co-worker you would like to be your nurse. The benefit of delivering at your own hospital is getting treated like a rock star (and usually getting the pick of your room!)
  14. by   MJC2118
    I was in your exact situation a year and a half ago. I have had this diagnosis for about 6-7 years, very rarely have outbreaks and when I do it is extremely mild. I often forget I even have It. I work in L&D and hear negative comments about this anytime a patient has HSV. While it annoys me, I just don't let it get to me anymore because I know they are just ignorant. When I had my child, I decided to go ahead and deliver at my facility. My best friend came in to be my delivery nurse so that was extremely helpful. Other than that, I just didn't say anything. If someone saw it in my chart, then oh Well. No one has ever said anything about it and I've not heard of any comments that have been made about It. I did make up my mind that if I caught wind of anyone talking about it, who didn't directly take care of me, then I would be turning their asses in for a HIPPA violation. Luckily, e everything was fine, and it wasn't a big deal. I understand your dilemma though!

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