Hospitals illegally firing nurses for refusing flu vaccines - page 4

Apologies if this has been posted somewhere else. I'm using the mobile app and am still getting the hang of things. What are your thoughts? Hospitals illegally firing nurses for refusing flu... Read More

  1. by   Julia77063
    Quote from gettingbsn2msn
    They are already looking at the weight of nurses in Texas. It is not discrimination but a way to reduce employer healthcare costs. We were discussing this the other night on our shift. We expect our weigh ins to begin soon!
    I figured the weight issue would come up. Sometimes when I'm trying to maneuver around my pt's room I wonder how would I do it if I were obese or even 30 lbs heavier. But I feel that hospitals don't support good health habits for their nurses. Like eating every 4 hours ( like we should), drinking adequate water, and getting adequate sleep.
  2. by   Maremma
    Well this topic is certainly a hot one. Quite ironically my facility is still one that does not require the flu shot to maintain employment but for anyone that does not accept the shot must wear a face mask whenever they will be within 5 ft of a patient.
    The past two years I had accepted the shots and both times had increasing problems right after. (I have an autoimmune issue and have problems with many many things I put in my body) I also still contracted the flu even with the shot last year.
    So this year I gave up and said no to the shot and yes to the mask.I also decided I am wearing it at ALL times, not just around patients but also around other staff. It only came off on my way out the door at the end of my shift.Using paper towels to open doors as I went.
    The flu came into our facility via a new admission. Of course it spread before they decided to even think about quarantine. Of course it began getting staff as well as patients.The ones who took the shots were dropping like flies. Those of us with full time masks on were not.
    The "big problem" with those of us that chose the mask over the apparently useless shot was that we were the ones carrying the load for all the other staff out sick because they refused to wear masks. Working short and overtime for weeks. Exhausted and burned out increased mistakes of course followed.
    Let me tell you the amount of masks we are going through would certainly far exceed the cost of those shots if ALL staff were required to wear them the entire flu season, at all times and change them every time they leave a room with known sick patients in them. Not even just when leaving a room.
    It seems to me if the medical facilities REALLY cared about patient safety they would require all staff to be wearing masks rather than taking shots the entire flu season. It has certainly proven to be far more effective than the vaccines at my facility.

    They would immediately quarantine any suspect patient rather than wait for it to spread wile waiting for the tests to come back confirming it as a flu strain. They would not allow admissions to the quarantine floors. They would not allow sick employees to be at work at all. They would not continue to send clearly ill patients to physical therapy to spread it even further all the while PRETENDING to be on quarantine lock down. They would not have housekeeping sanitize the door knobs and handrails one single time and then continue to allow patients to come and go putting the germs right back on them. They would not refuse to report to state immediately when known flu and norovirus cases are in the building. (thus making it impossible to accept new admissions until facility clears)

    It is and has always been about money and just barely sqeaking by with any laws or regs imposed on them as cheaply as possible.
    Accepting those shots is not protecting your patients. It is protecting THEIR pocketbook. Don't be fooled. Masks are the safest way to go for both patient and staff.
  3. by   anotherone
    Quote from MunoRN
    First, it's not illegal. The doesn't actually require employers to honor religious beliefs, they just need a business related reason not to, an argument hospitals can make.Second, opposition to vaccines isn't a religious belief. It's a personal belief held by people who sometimes also happens to be religious. Legally, religious beliefs have to be well established and commonly held within a particular religious group. The basis of a religion based opposition to vaccines is that preventing disease interferes with God's plan, which would then also mean one would have to shun healthcare in general to cite a religious opposition. A Nurse trying to argue that they consider the prevention or treatment of disease to be a sin is pretty much an opposing lawyer's wet dream.
    There have to be many delusional people to believe it before you can use the religion aspect? i always wondered about that and using religion to get out of something (mostly think it should never be allowed. same playing field for delisions , beliefs or not) to make exceptions based on this is complete nonsence
  4. by   anotherone
    Quote from AQEELSMOM
    Which goes back to my previous question, why does the law not protect ones choices about their own healthcare? In the workplace specifically. Could a hospital not then take it a step further and say, we don't hire obese people because they can't move as efficiently as fit people, we don't hire smokers because they take too many breaks, we don't hire people with a history of depression (unless they go on a pre approved list of antidepressants) because they might get sad and miss work?
    Many places here (usa) do not hire smokers. I cant wait for many they target other groups. fun times ahead. some facilities let employees choose to wear a mask from around sept-april or get the vaccine
  5. by   azure42
    Given the current amount of scientific evidence out there, I cannot help but wonder if forced compliance is warranted. The fact of the matter is, the vaccine does not provide 100% protection, and with this in mind....the argument for mandatory immunization rapidly falls into the realm of fallacy.

    On the other hand....I can't imagine working with immunocompromised patients and not getting my flu shot!!! No way. I get the shot, and sleep better at night because of it.

    At the end of the day, however, both perspectives offer compelling evidence, and both perspectives deserve respect. What I (personally) find counter-productive are the, "well if you don't like it, go seek work somewhere else" comments. This, to me, is sour grapes. People SHOULD question whether or not their conceptual rights/civil liberties are being infringed upon.

    On the other hand, refusing the flu shot does place our patients at significant this appropriate and ethical nursing care?

    What professional associations support mandated influenza vaccination among Health Care Personnel?
    • American Academy of Family Physicians
    • American Academy of Pediatrics
    • American College of Physicians
    • American Hospital Association
    • American Medical Directors Association
    • American Pharmacists Association
    • American Public Health Association
    • Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
    • Infectious Diseases Society of America
    • National Business Group on Health
    • National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
    • National Patient Safety Foundation
    • Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

    Nursing Center - Journal Article
    Early Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness — United States, January 2013
  6. by   morte
    Quote from MunoRN
    Part of a Nurse's job is to comply with policies intended to provide for patient safety. A Nurse who refuses to comply with these policies is therefor less willing to do their job.

    This year it contains 3 strains, in any given year the vaccine contains whatever strains are most likely to appear in the US.
    The best guess!

    Hospitals make this decision, at least in part, based on recommendations from groups such as the CDC, which recommends mandatory universal vaccinations for health care personnel.

    There isn't sufficient evidence accurately determine the effect of immunizing caregivers, but we do know that flu vaccines significantly reduces the incidence of the flu in those who are vaccinated, which in turn makes for fewer "vectors" to spread the flu to compromised patient populations.
    Just because you don't "catch" the flu doesn't mean you can't spread it!
    It's true we can't predict exactly which health care workers will get the flu, which is why universal immunizations are recommended.
    the recommendations were made before that study came out....U of mich, ?U of minn?
  7. by   Sippie
    What about visitors to the hospitals? They could spread the flu too. How about the mailman and people dropping off and picking up supplies etc. What about the patients themselves? They are offered the flu shot at some hospitals but they aren't forced to get it to stay a patient. Germs don't know the difference if you are a health care worker, family member, or the UPS guy. Pretty soon some patient will be suing some hospital for letting Mr X's unvaccinated family member walk by so and so's room and coughed while passing by and they caught the flu. Walmart look out next thing ya know the cashiers will have to be vaccinated against anything communicable cause they may be passing more than just change.

    I did get my flu shot because I don't have any specific reason not to..but just sayin..
  8. by   paradiseboundRN
    Quote from totallyfakerockgod
    Totally agreeing with this!
    It's a vary slipper slope!
    I'm a smoker for a non smoking company & what I do on my time is NONE of their bussiness.
    I choose not to.smoke & to comply with my jobs rules regarding. But if I choose to.spend my 15 minute lunch walking around Ryde block & have a cigarette that's my choice. I just rince before I return. Simple as that.
    I won't get the flu mist or shot either. I keep clean & if I get it it's my.check.that's short not my bosses. It actually makes, me very ill for 6-9 weeks. Hm...chance.a week or 2 off... Or months
    If you could get a note from your doctor stating your reaction then maybe your employer would make an exception. Not sure... The smoking ban is to keep their insurance costs down. Maybe they need to have smokers pay a higher percentage of the cost of the insurance.
  9. by   sharee1027
    Love it...Speak on!
  10. by   paradiseboundRN
    Quote from grpman
    So, would you expect a nurse manager to hire someone who can't bend over to tie their own shoes and asks for extra breaks to smoke?
    Hospitals don't have to have a reason NOT to hire someone. They can NOT hire you just because they don't like you! Its their choose who they hire. This is not something new. For example, there have been plenty of studies dating back at least 20 years, stating that obese people are less likely to be hired. Maybe you wore red for the interview and the interviewer hates red, its as simple as that.
  11. by   tewdles
    No question that the obese are often passed over for employment, as are ugly people, people with physical deformities, and people who are poor and don't dress well.
    Yes managers do "NOT" hire someone simply because they do not like the person, as well as because of qualifications.
    Last edit by tewdles on Jan 24, '13 : Reason: content
  12. by   uRNmyway
    Oh geez, I really don't think this has anything to do with protecting the patients or even the staff. The hospitals are doing this more with the financial bottom-line in mind. You really want to protect patients? Provide adequate staffing. Not just in numbers, but well rested, not overworked. Give all staff a gym membership and a monthly gift card to a health food store. The key to a healthy immune system is a lot more than just a few shots.

    I know everyone is different. Some people get the flu shot every year and stay healthy that way. Personally, the years I have gotten sickest were those I had to get the flu shot (in nursing school). Every year since, I have turned it down, and barely gotten the sniffles.
    I have a pretty healthy immune system on my own and don't see the point in forcibly injecting even an attenuated virus into my body. At my office, 3-4 of the ladies have had the flu. I hope I am not jinxing myself, but so far, nada for me. Close environment, poor air circulation and all.

    I'm not saying no one should be getting it, nor am I saying everyone should. I would be totally fine with having the option of 'get the shot or wear the mask'. Mask for me, any day.
  13. by   grpman
    Quote from olddragger
    So its wrong to question? It's wrong to insist on evidence proven research?
    IMHO nursing/employee compliance is what a lot of people and facilities count on to do whatever they want.
    If you truly want to be a patient advacant ( yes people receiving the flu shots are patients!) then know all you can concerning whatever you are about to do to them.
    The flu shot has a place, but the hype around it is very misleading. "Lets just comply"????????

    GRPMAN---it's one thing concerning new hires--its a totally different matter concerning people that have been employed by the facility for years. For example--would it be ok to fire a nurse for gaining "too much weight", or now having to take antidepressants (for a variety of reasons). Would it be ok to fire someone if they were in a car wreck and lost the sight of one eye? No--I dont think it would --would it? So it's ok to fire someone that doesnt want to take an ineffective vaccination?
    You are right. It would be wrong to fire someone for being obese (wow...can we say lawsuit for bad terminology). However, if obesity interferes with being able to do the minimum requirements of a job then you would be wrong.

    I responded to one point of a post. I never said or implied it was okay to fire someone for not getting vaccinated. Although I understand the point, I thought it was a stretch to relate nicotine and obesity to vaccination requirements.

    My mind isn't made up on the vaccination debate, I'm still googling for a few more answers. But, it is fun to read, learn, and debate with you until I figure it out. In the meantime, I'm getting my flu shot.