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Are there any nurses that are not vaccinated? How to prepare to be safe at work?

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So I wanted to come on here because I've been thinking about something and it has kinda taken away my excitement.

So I haven't worked in 2 years and I haven't really had a hands-on, bedside care nursing experience since I graduated nursing school 5 years ago. So last year I didn't work at all because of the pandemic and since I don't have any real nursing experience, I didn't want to start during a pandemic, I didn't feel I was ready for that. I was really scared. So now that (I thought) the pandemic is slowing down I wanted to start looking for a job, I applied for a CNA position at a SNF I used to work at, at least to start working again. Surprisingly they are looking for an LPN for part time. I was so excited because I thought it would be a lot better now since everything is slowing down. However, they asked me if I am vaccinated and I said no. I had set my mind to not get the vaccine but now that I got this job I feel bad if I'm the only person that doesn't have the vaccine. I don't want to get anyone sick and I would feel bad if I'm the only one unvaccinated because I don't want people to not trust me. I don't know how bad it is at SNFs but I feel a little stressed now, and I was honestly excited to FINALLY get an LPN job after 5 years of graduating. I've also been hearing about this new variant virus, which sucks because I thought we were close to the end of the pandemic. I've not been keeping up with the news because honestly I get a lot of anxiety over the virus and it discourages me from looking for a job and I really want to get back to work. I don't participate in risky behavior like going out and not wearing a mask. I didn't get sick at all last year and I pretty much just stay home.

My question is: Are there any nurses out there that are working and are not vaccinated?

Also, what can I do to be safe at work? Is there anything I should bring with me, like disinfecting wipes, spray... 

Also, curious question, did anyone NOT get sick last year?

Thank you!

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 9 years experience.

My hospital will have mandatory Covid vaccines this year. There are also mandatory flu vaccines every year, and titers/vaccines for many other contagious illnesses required on hire. I got Covid, luckily pretty mild case. I got my vaccines first chance I had. 

You let this virus scare you from working for a year. And now you don't want to get a vaccine to give you (and your patients) a lower risk of contracting it? Especially if you want to work with the vulnerable frail elderly? As a hospital nurse, I've watched younger people die (healthy in their 40s), as well as plenty of elderly. It can get spread before you have symptoms.

Your workplace should have PPE (wipes, gloves, etc). But, all the PPE won't do anything if basic precautions like handwashing are done. Also, vaccination is a great way to not infect people.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

 

On 7/16/2021 at 12:48 AM, PrettyNerd said:

Also, what can I don't to be safe at work?

Yes. You can get vaccinated.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

Hopefully this thread won't be a negative pile on, but probably that is inevitable.

Basically, if you wanted to work in a nursing home you're going to have to get a covid vaccine. The only reason that they would let you work there without one is out of desperation for a warm body.

I personally am not super into a million vaccines, but even I got the covid vaccine. Let me ask you this question, do you drink soda pop? We know for a fact that soda pop is detrimental to the health. I personally don't believe hand washing is the number one preventative to disease. I think it is eating a healthy balanced diet, having a lot of physical activity in your life, and getting adequate sleep are stronger factors in staying  healthy.

I see people adamantly against covid vaccine who are very careless with other aspects of their health. I think that is because they are distrustful of the government actions, the pharmaceutical companies, and probably ideological agendas surrounding this covid pandemic. I see the same hypocrisy on the other side of the fence as well. 

If you want to continue your nursing career I advise you to get the covid vaccine. If I were younger I would probably get out of nursing and pursue another career choice. There are many opportunities to work from home now which sounds like it might suit you. The whole healthcare field has gotten pretty intense since this pandemic. I advise you to seek another line of work.

 

NightNerd, MSN, RN

Specializes in CMSRN, tele, palliative, psych. Has 7 years experience.

Is there a particular reason you're hesitant to get the vaccine? Because that would be my recommendation for sure. It's effective in protecting you and those around you, especially considering the variants that are spreading.

Like @CalicoKitty, I took care of several younger, healthy people who got COVID and required hospitalization, as well as prolonged use of oxygen. I was a little hesitant at first, but after spending so many months watching people around my age get so sick, I was more then convinced I'd rather take my chances with the vaccine rather than COVID. No regrets.

Your job will provide PPE, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes, so there isn't anything in particular you need to bring with you. Maybe a pair of goggles if you don't like what is provided at work; I know several coworkers who got their own face shields that they preferred. That's it.

Honestly, getting the vaccine is your best.  Otherwise, you are at risk to getting covid, and the delta variant and getting very sick from it.  

Now that visitors are now returning, that’s where your biggest risk is going to come from.  I got covid at work last Summer.  I think it was from a visitor.  We had recently let 1 visitor at a time back in.  And I always wear my mask at work.  

The only way to fully protect yourself from getting very sick is to get the vaccine.  

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

2 hours ago, CalicoKitty said:

You let this virus scare you from working for a year. And now you don't want to get a vaccine to give you (and your patients) a lower risk of contracting it?

Yeah, the disconnect stuck out to me too.

Daisy4RN

Specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg. Has 20 years experience.

Most facilities will more than likely make it mandatory for you to get the vaccine. I myself have concerns r/t this particular vaccine due to the politicization of the covid pandemic. Every person needs to weigh the risk vs benefits for their particular situation. Even though I had concerns, and still do, I made the decision to get the vaccine. Not sure what your reasons are for not wanting the vaccine but if you want to work you will probably need it sooner than later. And I would also consider that you will indeed be working closely with a high risk group if people if working in a SNF. Good luck!

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

10 hours ago, NightNerd said:

I was a little hesitant at first, but after spending so many months watching people around my age get so sick, I was more then convinced I'd rather take my chances with the vaccine rather than COVID. No regrets.

Same! I was nervous because I got it early since I worked on a covid unit, and the fact that it only had emergency approval and no way to know of long term side effects was scary, but getting severe covid or "long haul covid" from a minor infection is scarier. Most vaccines don't have long term side effects and if they do it's in a tiny population. Nothing is 100% risk free, but based on my research the chance of getting covid is higher than the chance of having a long term side effect from the vaccine. 

On 7/16/2021 at 6:06 AM, CalicoKitty said:

My hospital will have mandatory Covid vaccines this year. There are also mandatory flu vaccines every year, and titers/vaccines for many other contagious illnesses required on hire. I got Covid, luckily pretty mild case. I got my vaccines first chance I had. 

You let this virus scare you from working for a year. And now you don't want to get a vaccine to give you (and your patients) a lower risk of contracting it? Especially if you want to work with the vulnerable frail elderly? As a hospital nurse, I've watched younger people die (healthy in their 40s), as well as plenty of elderly. It can get spread before you have symptoms.

Your workplace should have PPE (wipes, gloves, etc). But, all the PPE won't do anything if basic precautions like handwashing are done. Also, vaccination is a great way to not infect people.

It is not mandatory at the SNF I applied. But they will be testing me for covid once a week which I'm fine with. Yes, I know the flu shots are required and I do get them the times when I've worked. Yes! It did scare me, and if I'm the only person in the world who was scared of the virus then I must be a rare breed. Because I took all precautions to NOT get sick, and guess what? I didn't get sick! I have a lot of anxiety with diseases and its a fear of mine to get sick especially with this deadly virus!

On 7/16/2021 at 6:20 AM, klone said:

 

Yes. You can get vaccinated.

Its nice that I'm being pushed to get something injected into MY body that I'm not completely comfortable with. 

On 7/16/2021 at 8:11 AM, Emergent said:

Hopefully this thread won't be a negative pile on, but probably that is inevitable.

Basically, if you wanted to work in a nursing home you're going to have to get a covid vaccine. The only reason that they would let you work there without one is out of desperation for a warm body.

I personally am not super into a million vaccines, but even I got the covid vaccine. Let me ask you this question, do you drink soda pop? We know for a fact that soda pop is detrimental to the health. I personally don't believe hand washing is the number one preventative to disease. I think it is eating a healthy balanced diet, having a lot of physical activity in your life, and getting adequate sleep are stronger factors in staying  healthy.

I see people adamantly against covid vaccine who are very careless with other aspects of their health. I think that is because they are distrustful of the government actions, the pharmaceutical companies, and probably ideological agendas surrounding this covid pandemic. I see the same hypocrisy on the other side of the fence as well. 

If you want to continue your nursing career I advise you to get the covid vaccine. If I were younger I would probably get out of nursing and pursue another career choice. There are many opportunities to work from home now which sounds like it might suit you. The whole healthcare field has gotten pretty intense since this pandemic. I advise you to seek another line of work.

I feel like if they were in desperate need for a warm body, they would have it all over job search websites. I applied for one position and ended up being offered another. To answer your question, no, I do not drink soda, alcohol, do drugs, or smoke. Never have, never will. I try to eat as healthy as I can and exercise 3-5/week for the last 15 years. Never been hospitalized, never been diagnosed with health illness and I would like to keep it like that, thats why I'm paranoid about the virus. Yes, I will be looking to see what else I can do from home. I was just excited to get hands on experience but I thought the pandemic was slowing down.

10 hours ago, NightNerd said:

Is there a particular reason you're hesitant to get the vaccine? Because that would be my recommendation for sure. It's effective in protecting you and those around you, especially considering the variants that are spreading.

Like @CalicoKitty, I took care of several younger, healthy people who got COVID and required hospitalization, as well as prolonged use of oxygen. I was a little hesitant at first, but after spending so many months watching people around my age get so sick, I was more then convinced I'd rather take my chances with the vaccine rather than COVID. No regrets.

Your job will provide PPE, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes, so there isn't anything in particular you need to bring with you. Maybe a pair of goggles if you don't like what is provided at work; I know several coworkers who got their own face shields that they preferred. That's it.

Thank you for being the only person that at least asked why I don't want to get it, instead of just telling me to get it. First, I don't feel comfortable putting something in my body that we don't know much about. It's a different type of vaccine in the way that it's made and how it works in your body. Since its new, we don't have enough information about the long term affects of it. I've even heard of it affecting a person's fertility and I don't have kids yet, but I want to soon. I've heard people are still getting sick WITH the vaccine. I've heard about women experiencing blood clots. I felt the vaccine was rushed and came out too soon without doing additional tests. I don't even think its FDA approved. I don't keep up with the news or read up on the vaccine so I admit I am ignorant in the topic but I know for sure that it is new and there isn't enough research on the long term effects. I am worried about how it will affect me in the future. I am torn because I care about the patients and people are making it seem like I'm selfish and don't care about them, which is not true, but you guys have to understand that when I go home, I am still in my body and if I quit the job, im still in my body for the rest of my life. That scares me 

After reading all the replies, I feel discouraged and sad, I have a knot in my throat because I feel like crying. I haven't been able to sleep because I keep thinking about if I'm making the right move in working there without the vaccine and torn between if I should get it or not. It is my body and I am not 100% comfortable about putting something in my body thats new. I was excited to finally start working, and was thanking God for it. I was mistaken thinking that things were getting better, I am not following the news only our health department website to see how covid has been doing and it seemed it was getting better. My fiance that works in a hospital told me they had ZERO covid patients and all departments were back to normal. It wasn't until I was around other people outside of my circle that basically made me feel crappy about it. Thanks for your replies.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

I think overall covid IS getting better, so that is encouraging. Also, it is totally your choice whether or not to get the vaccine. These are just our opinions. If you don't get it and you keep doing what you're doing in terms of protecting yourself and wear PPE at work, I don't think you're a huge risk to your patients. If you were going to the bar without a mask that would be a different story. If you're just at home, not as big of a risk. There is always the chance of getting it at work and then spreading it, but if the residents are all vaccinated it's not as high of a chance of them getting severely ill (although elderly are still higher risk).

If you want to work and the facility doesn't require you to get the vaccine, just stay responsible. Wear your N95 except at lunch, and to be super safe you could eat in your car or outside away from others. We definitely need nurses who want to work LTC! 

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

I can guarantee that not one of us was super keen on getting something injected into OUR bodies that is relatively new. But you know what? We did it anyway. Because it's about more than just us. It's about protecting every person we comes into contact with. If you're going to work in a nursing home, of all places, you would be incredibly irresponsible and selfish to not get the vaccine. 

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 9 years experience.

I realize you are afraid of getting the vaccine because you do not understand it. You should educate yourself on the facts. Yes there are risks. You know what is riskier? Getting Covid.

The vaccine for this specific variant may be new, but the technology and vaccine theories used for these variants is not new.

Currently about half of the country has been vaccinated. That means the vaccine has been tested on half of the US population (40% fully vaccinated with 2 doses).  

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for emergency use by FDA. 

In my hospital system, it seems like about 10% of our hospitalized covid patients died. Sure, not everyone gets hospitalized.

Blood clots area HUGE risk factor for Covid. The D-Dimer (a coagulation test that predicts risks of pulmonary embolism - PE, strokes, deep vein thrombosis -DVT) are very high.  I've watched patients survive covid only to be left with a stroke, tracheostomy, etc.

Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.

mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine.

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 9 years experience.

8 minutes ago, klone said:

I can guarantee that not one of us was super keen on getting something injected into OUR bodies that is relatively new. ...

Actually, I was pretty excited. I kinda wish I had been in a clinical trial. I used to work in virology and immunology before becoming a nurse. So, I may be biased. I ended up with Covid, so I was slightly worried about getting a stronger reaction to the vaccines, but I had pretty much no symptoms.

Ioreth, ADN, RN

Specializes in Ortho-Neuro. Has 2 years experience.

CalicoKitty has provided some excellent information regarding the Covid vaccine. I discussed vaccine hesitancy with a hospitalist recently in small talk and he noted that because it is so standardized, most of the medical concerns in the vaccine is in effectiveness, not side effects. The biggest concern is: is the dose large enough to do what is needed while still being low enough to provide enough vaccines as possible. The other concern is choosing a part of the spike protein that will not change very much so the vaccine remains effective with variants.

Honestly, this is probably one of the safest vaccines you can get.

But really, just get all your vaccines. You are more likely to have health problems as a result of the disease than the vaccine. Trust me on this one. I had covid twice, likely different variants. I am still feeling the effects of the second infection from early Nov 2020 right now. You DON'T want this.

I also want you to think about your patient population. They're not going anywhere, but you are only there while you work. If there is a low-key outbreak in your community and you get it and it spreads through the LTC because of lower immune response to the vaccine and hidden susceptibility... How will you feel if some of your patients die? You won't know that you gave it to them, but you won't know that you didn't.

One last thought. Every person that gets the vaccine stops the spread of the virus in that person. They may still get covid, but it can't spread from them, and the illness is generally mild. But in those that don't get vaccinated... They are variation machines. In every single unvaccinated host, there is the possibility of producing a variant that can evade vaccines, and we will have 2020 all over again. Do your part and stop the spread.

15 minutes ago, CalicoKitty said:

Actually, I was pretty excited. I kinda wish I had been in a clinical trial. I used to work in virology and immunology before becoming a nurse. So, I may be biased. I ended up with Covid, so I was slightly worried about getting a stronger reaction to the vaccines, but I had pretty much no symptoms.

I have an 11-year-old who is too young to get the vaccine yet. I have never seen a kid so eager to get a shot. She is soooo tired of covid and distance learning. We live in a large city with low vaccine uptake, so we are seeing ongoing outbreaks. She's continuing to be careful, and usually of her own choosing because she hears about what it is like where I work. 

For the record, I got the vaccine even after having Covid. I'm not going to play roulette on getting it a 3rd time. I had a mild reaction to the first shot and the second made me sleep for a day. Then I was fine. Just don't plan on working the day after your 2nd shot.

Edited by Ioreth

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