Doc Won't See Me Because I Treat Covid Patients

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by bitter_betsy bitter_betsy, BSN Member Nurse Student

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 3 years experience.

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JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 13,952 Posts

8 hours ago, akulahawkRN said:

If someone asks if I've had close contact with a COVID 19 patient, I consider that a question of "Have you had close unprotected contact with a known COVID 19 patient" and since I always wear PPE, I answer that as "no."

Exactly.  Technically my child can’t go to school since I work with COVID+ patients in our isolation unit.  I called our state DoH who issued that directive. They updated to “contact (less than 6 feet) with a positive or symptomatic for 15 min or longer without wearing PPE (N95 or better respirator (with  droplet rated surgical mask as appropriate), goggles, isolation gown & gloves). If PPE is worn you aren’t considered to have had close contact. 

In contrast. my schedule changed last minute due to our positive patient load increasing and staff out sick, I had to call same day to cancel an appointment. I’m not permitted to reschedule needed work now. However if I lied and said I had an exposure or symptoms I could reschedule without penalty.   Can’t win with some offices. 

CaliRN2019

CaliRN2019, BSN

Has 4 years experience. 26 Posts

Stop telling people details. They don't need to know and you use PPE anyways. When people ask about exposure its my understanding that means without PPE, like household members. 

I used to be upfront about my job ( tele covid unit) until my therapist of 3 years whom I respected and trusted so deeply wouldn't have me in her office ( starting last April) while other clients where allowed in with masks. That freaking hurt.

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 30 years experience. 9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

On 1/6/2021 at 9:38 PM, akulahawkRN said:

If someone asks if I've had close contact with a COVID 19 patient, I consider that a question of "Have you had close unprotected contact with a known COVID 19 patient" and since I always wear PPE, I answer that as "no."

Actually that's the question that makes the most sense for any establishment that is tasked with screening at the entry point. That's how one of our hospital's battery of screening question items is phrased.

NurseSpeedy, ADN, LPN, RN

Has 20 years experience. 1,599 Posts

On 1/8/2021 at 1:56 PM, juan de la cruz said:

Actually that's the question that makes the most sense for any establishment that is tasked with screening at the entry point. That's how one of our hospital's battery of screening question items is phrased.

I was just glad when they finally removed the “have you traveled to any high risk COVID19 areas in the past two weeks” from the required template questions. Try asking that question 40 times a day and try to act like it’s not a stupid question when the office is located in one of the hottest COVID19 areas at that time....

”I know...I know this is Florida...I know it’s everywhere....I know....listen I just have to check a box. You live here. You haven’t traveled. Next question of 20...”

MarkMyWords

MarkMyWords

Specializes in nursing ethics. 2 Articles; 170 Posts

Ignore the no show fee. Ridiculous. You were there--it was the doctor's choice.  .

 Find another doc, obviously...I try to find one where I can do something else in the area. An errand, restaurant or shopping,,,to justify my trip and time.

Schweet

Specializes in Tele RN on the West Coast. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 80 Posts

I have experienced this at my doctors as well. It's very frustrating from our perspective, though, if the tables were turned I might be the same way as these offices (especially if they haven't had much Covid desensitization, like we have).

Also experiencing this when I went to give blood. Their message was, "Donors Urgently Needed!" But healthcare workers must not have inpatient Covid  pts for 14 days, which isn't going to happen. I understand their rationale but it sure feels like a slap in the face. 

Was on my way to work in clean scrubs picking up food and I got looks & questioned if I was coming or going to work. Do they think I would go in there after 12+ hrs with Covid patients? No ma'am.

While I understand their hesitancy and reasons, not wanting exposure to the awful C19, I am disappointed I feel the need to hide my RN status. Don't know why anyone displays the RN car sticker anymore, but each to their own. 

On the flipside the free Starbucks and Frontline discounts have been nice.?

So, I feel your frustration and alienation. One day we'll just be known as heroes.

- Schweet

Edited by Schweet
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JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 16 years experience. 1,476 Posts

9 hours ago, Schweet said:

So, I feel your frustration and alienation. One day we'll just be known as heroes.

Oh goodness I sure hope not.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 32,326 Posts

My facility thinks it's okay for me to float to covid one day and work with clean surgical patients the next day, so I find it amusing that doctors won't see us.

My doc actually comes to the hospital to see his patients rather than use a hospitalist so I'm lucky that he still sees me live and in person in his office.  

But when I get a haircut, get an eye exam, or dentist I keep the information to myself.  I feel good about this because I wear PPE and have tested negative for antibodies and covid so I'm as protected as people that don't have exposure to covid patients.  I still need all these services and can't forgo them until we have no covid patients.  

Now if I have an exposure without PPE, such as from a friend I certainly will cancel any appointments and quarantine.  

 

Edited by Tweety

ajessrn

ajessrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg/school nursing. Has 14 years experience. 36 Posts

my first dental apt was over the Summer I think so I was honest and just said "so are nurses not able to get care because we are exposed to covid patients?". they said let me double check and call you back. they said it was fine and I was able to have my apt. 

Now I just answer no. If I am not quarantining due to actually being a close contact then my answer is no and I leave it at that. I had to reschedule an apt for my kiddo and myself because we were quarantining due to my husband being positive. I know the difference between an actual close contact and my work so I just don't even talk about it if it doesn't come up. 

my sons eye doctor isn't seeing children under a certain age and so we had to switch his eye doctor. their reason is that most of their population is elderly and high risk. 

ladycody

ladycody, BSN, RN

Specializes in CWON. Has 10 years experience. 92 Posts

On 1/7/2021 at 12:38 AM, akulahawkRN said:

If someone asks if I've had close contact with a COVID 19 patient, I consider that a question of "Have you had close unprotected contact with a known COVID 19 patient" and since I always wear PPE, I answer that as "no."

Yep

SansNom

116 Posts

I'll throw in my 2 cents here and agree with everyone who's recommending you don't mention what you do unless necessary. I avoid telling people I'm a nurse these days unless I absolutely need to. As another poster said, if I'm asked if I've been in contact with covid I say "no" because all my known covid interactions have been in full PPE. I work with IV therapy and do PICCs frequently and our whole team sees clean and covid patients alternately all day long.

Very few people need to know what you do for work, and if you're taking precautions and wearing PPE correctly you are not putting others at risk any more than any other average person.

Edited by SansNom

Dela RN

Dela RN

45 Posts

On 1/6/2021 at 9:24 AM, caliotter3 said:

Easy solution, stop telling people you are an ER nurse or that you treat Covid patients.  I learned the hard way a long time ago to never tell a doctor or their staff at all that I am a nurse.  That way I avoid discriminatory behavior from the medical community based on the fact that I am a nurse.

I disagree with this advice to not disclose exposure especially if they are asking. I get the not disclosing you're a nurse in regular circumstances but during a pandemic everyone is trying to protect themselves and their workers. Some members of the public have hidden their covid exposure status when entering the hospital where I work. They answer no to all the screening questions and only after is it discovered that not only have they been around sick contacts but they are now covid positive. This caused a number of health care professionals to be forced into quarantine.

I agree with the OP that we are the the most protected with PPE at work but other businesses need to do their due diligence to protect themselves and their own staff. They need protocols in place to deal with patients like us that are not covid positive but have a high exposure risk but still need medical care.

What we have done at the hospital I work at when someone needs elective surgery that would be indefinitely postponed since they are  considered a high exposure risk (ie. international traveller, works or has close contact with an known outbreak site) is we pre-plan these cases and treat them as they are covid positive so our staff wear full PPE including N95s for their AGMPs. Normally if people screen negative we are not wearing N95s even during AGMPs.