Accidentally tested for MRSA???

Nurses Relations


When I was at the doctor the other day, they wanted to determine the cause for repeated infections in my nose/ear piercings. They did a nasal swab and I did not realize they were testing for MRSA, if I would've known this, I would have refused. I know it is very common and not a big deal, but if I know I am a carrier/infected, do I have to disclose that to my employer? If so, what do they do about it? Has anyone had MRSA and still been able to work?


6,660 Posts

12 hours ago, lwill_40 said:

I know it is very common

It isn't really; not in the way nurses talk about it anyway. I have heard nurses joke about how we're all infected (I'm sure they meant colonized) with MRSA; I don't know where they got that idea. Common numbers cited by the CDC are around the 1-2% mark for the general population, and in looking through multiple other sources every time this topic arises it seems the % of HCWs colonized is estimated around 4ish % depending upon source.

You will discuss options and develop a plan with your doctor r/t your own personal health choices if you are found to be a carrier.

There are no recommendations for HCWs being taken off work for being a carrier, and if negative carrier status was an important qualification for performing your job then everyone would be routinely screened. That is not recommended though.


2 Posts

Specializes in OB tech.

Oh wow, I had no idea! We totally joke about it all the time! But it's really good to know it's not that common and that it shouldn't interfere with working. Looks like I have nothing to worry about!


6,660 Posts

Now that I think about it, it's something people say when someone has had something kind of gross happen to them in the course of taking care of a patient. It's like coworkers' way of consoling the person ("You'll be fine, I'm sure we all have MRSA and [x], [y], [z] by now"). It was probably meant to actually be a joke to help the person not feel bad/freaked out.

Specializes in ER/School/Rural Nursing/Health Department.

Recent statistics say that 30% of the population is a carrier of staph. aureus.  but only about 1% of the population is a carrier of MRSA.  I think that is where the "everyone has it" comes from--the 1/3 of the population with colonized with regular staph.--but not that many have MRSA.


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