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Mask refusal on unit

Hi - I tried searching already existing topics, so as not to add to them, but couldn't really find an appropriate place to post this.

Someone with an admin job in our unit and who works in a small yet moderately / regularly trafficked office, takes off her mask when talking on the telephone, even when people are less than four feet away. She is someone who has worked as an MA in the past, and who comes from a medical family. Still, she doesn't get that talking is one of the main activities for which you should wear a mask. I asked her, while in the office with her, if she could put her mask on when on the phone, and her reply was, after attempting for a nano-second, "I can't." and then pulling it back down. I have a pretty good idea how this would go down if I pushed the issue, and that is that I would end up being the bad guy for bugging a good ole gal so much. She is a key member of our team, has been there a number of years, and liked by management. What have others' experiences been?

Thanks!

amoLucia specializes in LTC.

Try a sneaky back-door approach -  kind of alert your Inf Control person and see if that can get any results.

Sad that you're resorting to sneakiness, but you're prob right about you'd being pooh-poohed if you really pressed hard.

Another thing might be to very ostentatiously use some disinfectant or sanitizer on the phone or other nearby equip. I mean, really, REEEALLY swipe & wipe after her usage.

Am not being the very adult PROFESSIONAL person here, but then sometimes one has to respond outside the norm!

FolksBtrippin specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

I deal with this all the time. It has to come from management.

Many people believe that they need to pull down their mask for telephone calls or they won't be heard.

There is near zero public health education in our nation, and people are very reluctant to be educated anyway.

It has to come from their supervisor or they're not going to care/believe it.

Edited by FolksBtrippin

Jedrnurse specializes in school nurse.

1 hour ago, FolksBtrippin said:

 

There is near zero public health education in our nation, and people are very reluctant to be educated anyway.

Some of the public's reluctance may come from being in a country in which the leading public health entity continues to water down and change guidance because of political pressure from a man who suggested disinfectant infusion therapy as a treatment for COVID-19...

MarieBF specializes in ER, ICU.

Her medical background (however limited it may be) doesn’t matter. There’s plenty of RNs who don’t understand science or how to critically think and I’m sure this thread will prove me right. Recently there was a fb viral post by an OR nurse who claimed surgical masks don’t protect against viral illness and attempted to educate the public why people in the OR wear them. She must have never stepped out of the OR and actually cared for a patient with influenza because she’d know that you wear regular surgical masks for droplet precautions. And of course numerous people shared this post as proof they don’t need to mask because it came from a nurse. MAs have even less education so don’t count on that to help you.

DCtoRN specializes in Intensive Care.

We have supply personnel who regularly travel through the ICU, PACU, MEDSURG, and ED in our small hospital who refuse to wear their masks properly. Initially, when mandatory masking was implemented, they affixed their masks to their shirts with a safety pin! Multiple complaints were made to management, infection control, and the ethics hotline. After a few weeks, they began to wear the masks, but cut the bottom strings so the mask just floats out off their nose. Their practice continues. The complaints have likely ended due to lack of action by management. Absurd!

On 7/27/2020 at 3:31 PM, amoLucia said:

Try a sneaky back-door approach -  kind of alert your Inf Control person and see if that can get any results.

Sad that you're resorting to sneakiness, but you're prob right about you'd being pooh-poohed if you really pressed hard.

Another thing might be to very ostentatiously use some disinfectant or sanitizer on the phone or other nearby equip. I mean, really, REEEALLY swipe & wipe after her usage.

Am not being the very adult PROFESSIONAL person here, but then sometimes one has to respond outside the norm!

Thanks. Disinfecting surfaces is done regularly and is not the problem, as I see it, which is droplets in the air. She also takes it off to sneeze and cough. Oh - re-reading now for comprehension 🙂 and see what you mean. I think she would know exactly what I was trying to convey, may see it (correctly) as kind of passive aggressive, and feel harrassed. I am not quite there yet, but thanks for the suggestion!

42pines specializes in Occupational Health; Adult ICU.

23 hours ago, NormaSaline said:

She also takes it off to sneeze and cough.

Grrrrrrrrrooooos!

Complain in writing to the infection control person, have someone witness when you drop it off.  If you become infected by her, you have a civil case.

Assault = putting another in reasonable fear of harm.

These days her actions could be considered assault.  Taking the mask off intentionally could easily be considered battery.

OUxPhys specializes in Cardiology.

We have aides, EMS personnel, etc who don't wear their masks properly. Best thing to do is notify management. We had an employee outbreak because staff were not wearing masks. 

RN-to- BSN specializes in SCRN.

Yes, I have seen it. There is a doctor on our team that pulls down the mask to his chin when talking to the patient. He is very kind, and I think it's because he wants patient to see his facial expressions. The infection prevention would find it interesting but I'm not going to report him. He should know better, though.

llg specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

14 hours ago, RN-to- BSN said:

Yes, I have seen it. There is a doctor on our team that pulls down the mask to his chin when talking to the patient. He is very kind, and I think it's because he wants patient to see his facial expressions. The infection prevention would find it interesting but I'm not going to report him. He should know better, though.

While a part of me knows he probably shouldn't do that ... a part of me is sympathetic to his beliefs.   Does he stay at least 6 feet from the patient when he does that?

I understand because I am hearing impaired and have a lot of trouble understanding a lot of people when they are wearing a mask.   For people who don't enunciate each word clearly, a mask often muffles their speech just enough to make it hard for me to understand.   Also, masks make it impossible for me to see their lips.  While I don't lip read ... like many hard of hearing people, I use speech reading (combining mouth movements and shapes with what I hear) to help me understand speech.   As long as there is appropriate distance between me and another person, I often prefer people take off their masks to speak to me.   Maybe this physician is trying to help his patients understand what he is saying.

RN-to- BSN specializes in SCRN.

22 hours ago, llg said:

Does he stay at least 6 feet from the patient when he does that?

Yes, he does stand back. Nice to know people appreciate this situation.

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