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Coworkers won't wear masks

DCRN DCRN (New) New Educator Nurse

Specializes in Infectious disease, medsurg, oncology.

I work in an infectious disease clinic. I was asked to be the clinic safety administrator as the Covid 19 pandemic developed. I monitored CDC news, our Department of health press reports, taught staff (we have more admin/clerical staff than clinicians) about donning/doffing of PPE, and developed rules about masking, cleaning common areas. Nobody is consistently following the rules and I am uncomfortable with the near-complete lack of compliance Staff only wears masks if patients are in the office. The MD for whom I work never wears any PPE. When I asked our Practice Manager where we currently stood on the developed rules, she said "I guess we are kind of doing it." Is anyone else in a similar situation? I am really frustrated and appalled by the lack of caring for coworkers and for patients Thank you for reading

A Hit With The Ladies, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych.

LOL you work in an infectious disease clinic and your co-workers are ignoring PPE rules?!

That's just hilarious!

DCRN

Specializes in Infectious disease, medsurg, oncology.

Not hilarious for me😥. Ridiculous and unsafe, yes.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education.

My facility has had to quarantine over 1000 staff because of exposures, mostly due to improper (or no) use of PPE. A small percentage of that is exposure outside of work, but most occurred at work. They are not playing games- they completely rewrote the employee discipline policy so that not wearing the required PPE three times means you will be terminated.

Get something in writing and enforce it. Once an example or two is made, they’ll get the picture.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

How "in violation" are they? Are they using "social distancing" when not wearing a mask? Or are they actually breathing on each other?

I work in an environment with very few people and lots of space. We have agreed to take off our masks when it is "just us" -- but to be very good about staying at least 6 feet apart. We don't think we are actually violating any rules because we maintain our distance -- and put a mask on if additional people come to see us or if we are going to be in close proximity to each other.

We take ours off when we're not caring for patients and not in close proximity to each other.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology.

On 6/9/2020 at 8:57 PM, DCRN said:

I was asked to be the clinic safety administrator as the Covid 19 pandemic developed. I monitored CDC news, our Department of health press reports, taught staff (we have more admin/clerical staff than clinicians) about donning/doffing of PPE, and developed rules about masking, cleaning common areas. Nobody is consistently following the rules and I am uncomfortable with the near-complete lack of compliance

I wonder if you were asked to do this job because it was assumed to be all but impossible to get 100% compliance. I have been in your position for other tasks and found that no one wanted the job. I can understand your frustration. You spent a lot of time and effort locating pertinent evidence based practice, supplemented with expert opinion and developed procedures and policies. It would have been easier to herd cats than get adults who have a science based degree to be compliant. I never would have thought that until I read the boards here, talked to management of local stores and observed grocery store staff etc.

Somehow that sullen, authority-resistant 14 year old boy came out among your fellow workers. I don't get why - I have read all kinds of theories. I respect the science behind social distancing /each party wearing a mask.

Is there another department at your clinic? Perhaps you can talk to their infection control point person. I just hope this doesn't come back to haunt you at evaluation time. Just keep good records of the education and actions you have done.

On 6/9/2020 at 9:00 PM, A Hit With The Ladies said:

OL you work in an infectious disease clinic and your co-workers are ignoring PPE rules?!

That's just hilarious!

Someday you will spend a lot of time on a worthy project and get zero respect. May be you will think back on this conversation and realize the sting of disrespect.

DCRN

Specializes in Infectious disease, medsurg, oncology.

Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments and insights. It's a small clinic, and I am outnumbered. The apathy and carelessness continues to stun me daily. Time to look at other work environments.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology.

On 6/9/2020 at 8:57 PM, DCRN said:

The MD for whom I work never wears any PPE. When I asked our Practice Manager where we currently stood on the developed rules, she said "I guess we are kind of doing it."

After I posted, I thought about the ramifications if even one employee tests positive for the virus. Shutting down for at least a day to deep clean means canceling appointments which means revenue and maybe reputation lost.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

To CYA, you need to send objective email to Practice Manager and Physician noting your concerns re employees not following COVID safety procedure to protect yourself from claims they were unaware.

Putting my prior Safety Captain hat on, here is letter example:

Quote

Per my previous discussions with you regarding staff not following Covid-19 safety policy, staff were reeducated on (date) about clinic policy regarding face mask, distancing and cleaning procedures. Today's followup staff noted Dr X without PPE during several face to face patient encounters, # clerks and # Admin staff without face masks while interacting with patients. ( add other general concerns)

As Safety Administrator, I am concerned that by not following facility COVID policy, if one of our patients/staff is newly diagnosed with reportable active COVID infection, department will need to close for deep cleaning incurring lost revenue and expense along with health system notification and possible legal implications. Checked PPE stock and CDC approved cleaning products are present in department and available for staff use. I desire to minimize any safety issues at our Infectious Disease Department so bringing to your attention.

Cricket response from management, forward to safety officer and Risk management at health system. Plan your exit accordingly.

😉

On 6/9/2020 at 10:35 PM, Rose_Queen said:

My facility has had to quarantine over 1000 staff because of exposures, mostly due to improper (or no) use of PPE. A small percentage of that is exposure outside of work, but most occurred at work. They are not playing games- they completely rewrote the employee discipline policy so that not wearing the required PPE three times means you will be terminated.

Hm. Obviously I don't know how the first months of covid-19 went in your system, but the typical big system around here, my response to ^ that would be something along the lines "well this is a fine turn of events!" How laughable after what everyone has been though with healthcare corporations not providing proper PPE, making ridiculous policies about when PPE is allowed (or not allowed) to be worn, using paper masks, having policies (which have probably since disappeared) about how people will wear filthy contaminated items upon their face...Pfff.

Not to be completely jaded but it is just so typical the way these things turn. Workers have really feared for their lives during this due specifically to the long-standing greedy negligence of healthcare corporations. I'll bet those corporations didn't have a policy that not wearing reasonable PPE in March/April would get anyone fired! 🙄

[Not saying people shouldn't have to wear proper PPE, nor do I excuse any healthcare worker being cavalier about this. But I do absolutely object to how these narratives turn on the dime. After all this -- *now* these places will brazenly act like their employees are the major problem with regard to PPE-wearing?? Puh-leeeeeze]. 🦄

Your facility may have had to quarantine 1000 people, and sure, a lot of those might have been related to improper use of PPE. That doesn't tell us anything though. Those are deceptive statements if coming from a healthcare corporation. The history of how all of this has played out certainly does not reveal that improper use of PPE has been mostly the workers' doing. Day 1 started with improper use d/t improper availability, and subsequent improper BS policies. All to make up for (what should be considered criminal) dereliction of responsibility.

Sorry, RQ. Rant over.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology.

8 hours ago, JKL33 said:

How laughable after what everyone has been though with healthcare corporations not providing proper PPE, making ridiculous policies about when PPE is allowed (or not allowed) to be worn, using paper masks, having policies (which have probably since disappeared) about how people will wear filthy contaminated items upon their face...Pfff.

Now since the PPE is available the staff shuns it. That tells management that it was really no big deal working in March with "make/do" PPE supplies. So....the management will conclude they did the right thing all along. It was just the usual whiners who noted the missing PPE.

30 minutes ago, londonflo said:

Now since the PPE is available the staff shuns it. That tells management that it was really no big deal working in March with "make/do" PPE supplies.

I have no doubt management sees it that way; typical lack of insight, understanding and critical thinking, combined with constant self-centered excuse-making. Plus it's practically sport to disparage front line staff. If corporate representatives weren't so self-centered and unthinking they would better understand that going through harrowing, life-threatening experiences (real or just realistically imminently possible) probably has the ability to alter people's view of what they believe to be lesser (or lessening) threats at some time in the future. Sort of an "We made it through that, why worry now?" kind of reaction. I think that's a plausible and fair reaction, even if not particularly correct. The bottom line is, numerous selfish business choices over years directly contributed to where we all found ourselves. And no one owns the right to declare how people must feel about or react to that.

I see this both ways: I think it's patently ridiculous to shun PPE now as you say; I don't know why anyone wouldn't gladly accept proper gear where it is now available, since COVID-19 hasn't gone away. I do support disciplinary action for not using PPE, I just also happen to think that the high and mighty corporate/management attitudes accompanying such policies are ludicrous at this point given the rest of their behavior.

1 hour ago, londonflo said:

It was just the usual whiners who noted the missing PPE. 

I don't know if you mean that management would tend to think ^ this way...or that it is your actual belief that those who you perceive to be the usual whiners were truly the only ones who complained (cared about) missing PPE. (?)

londonflo

Specializes in oncology.

1 hour ago, JKL33 said:

I think it's patently ridiculous to shun PPE now as you say;is now available, since COVID-19 hasn't gone away

I totally agree with you. I don't understand why some do not feel that the continuous use of PPE will keep the virus at bay until a vaccine is developed. My concern is after you request safety equipment and upon it's arrival you less interest in it, management may just totally ignore further requests for additional essential supplies.

I have co -workers who wear the mandatory surgical masks without covering their nose at the nurses station (LOL I'm not jk)

I used to bring it to their attention at first but then I realized it was intentional and they wouldn't change their "practice".

Sighs..

File a complaint with JACHO and OSHA.

lexotaNIL, BSN

Specializes in intensive care unit.

I think that is the common issue between ''infection control'' and the entire hospital staff. That is why that job is existing because there is something that you need to control not just the infection transmission itself but also the behavior of the staff. As a Nurse for how many years I am telling you PPE is something that we need to swallow more than our pride. It's a hindrance for us though it is a protection. I will give you an example like when you need to insert a cannula to a patient with difficult vein, to an obese patient and black skin tone.. really it is not something so easy. Sometimes we gotta remove our gloves to palpate the vein. And regarding the mask not all our comfortable wearing it.. It is something that you need to control, The best thing to do is make rounds all the time...really.. because some nurses wore PPE because of infection control's presence...hahaha kinda funny but true.

On 6/15/2020 at 11:26 AM, NewRN'16 said:

I have co -workers who wear the mandatory surgical masks without covering their nose at the nurses station (LOL I'm not jk)

I used to bring it to their attention at first but then I realized it was intentional and they wouldn't change their "practice".

Sighs..

I hear ya, sister (or brother). Totally agree and 100% sympathize. As I said elsewhere, you (me) are the problem if you bring it to the attention of higher ups, who just walk on by. This is pathological, and I work in an otherwise, "good" place. SMDH.

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