The gossip, rumor and fright surrounding MRSA colonization and infection in nurses is apalling ot me. It should not be this way. On Friday I am going to particiapte in an OSHA conferrence call as a representative of the Consumers Union. I am a MRSA advocate and activist.
I am going to print out some of these letters, from this thread and use them, without names, as a representation of the fear that nurses experience of 1. contraction MRSa on the job, 2 getting tested and losing their jobs if they are positive, even though they contracted in the hospital, 3. the fact that nurses are never automatically given workmans comp when they develop an infection or colonization after a known exposure to patients with MRSA.
Also the idea of nurses refusing screening....this can put the nurse at risk. If they are going to have a high risk procedure, screening allows for decolonization, and appropriate preoperative antibiotics. Also, if a nurse is conlonized, he/she should be isolated in order to avoid spread of disease. Without screening, the nurse puts themselves at risk and others as well. MRSA colonization is contagious.
My belief is that CDC recommendations must be changed to put focus on prevention of MRSA, rather than having recommendations that are only used AFTER an outbreak. If patients are screened (results within 3 hours with PCR testing) and the MRSA status is known, then Isolation with contact precautions begin quickly after admission....exposures to MRSA for employees, families, and visitors would drop dramatically.
Please, if anyone has suggestions or concerns regarding HCWs exposure to MRSA and or other biohazards, please respond to this post and I will present it during my call.