Just because I am not in favor of a mandated flu vaccination means I am willing to risk infecting a patient?
per your post--" it is surprising that those so willing to sacrifice patient safety to make a questionable supported point about personal autonomy managed to graduate from Nursing School".
So are you saying that if a nurse doesnt receive the flu vaccination then they shouldnt have graduated from Nursing School?
Do you think that the flu vaccination protects you from getting the flu?
Do you think that nurses that come to work with congestion, maybe a slight cough--or just not feeling good are willing to risk infecting their patients?
Or what about those Nurses that do not care for patients, but work in other areas of the hospital--like in medical records, research, or telephonic nursing? Do they need the flu shot mandated also?
If you really look this at issue you will discover mandated flu vaccinations for EVERYONE IN THE HOSPITAL has at best a limited benefit. Do you threaten nurses job/profession for something that has only a limited benefit? OSHA doesn't think so, CMS doesn't think so, and many other well respected organizations dont.
Now lets look at handwashing --since you have focused on that comparison. Now granted, I do not know what the handwashing policies are at the facility you work in, but at our facility our policies mimics CDC's recommendations.
Those being: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5116.pdf
skip down to page 32 if you dont want to read the entire thing--its long.
Now once you have read this if you can say that your facility mandates handwashing and monitors such consistently -then all I can say is your facility is the first one I have heard of that does that.
I mean--do they have someone watching people all the time? Because that is what it would take.
Now short version of the cdc recommendations--means that the length of time for proper handwashing is 40 secs to 1 minute--each and every time. Before patient contact ( even taking a blood pressure for example), after patient contact, after touching your face/hair, after touching any inanimate object, after eating, going to the bathroom etc etc. Now IF I remember correctly a study was done on a typical floor nurse handwashing requirements following these strict guildlines and it was not workable. A floor nurse that had 5 patients to care for would need to wash their hands an estimated 100-200 times a day. Thats approx 1.5-3 hrs a day of handwashing.
I quote: 9/17) An update from GE’s Scott Gallagher: “Our research has shown that nurses may have as many as 200 opportunities for hand washing per shift. A more typical range is 100-120, and most use an alcohol-based gel that quickly sanitizes and dries while moving on to the next task. Even so, it’s not difficult to understand the challenge of washing so often every day. Our work has focused on not just changing behavior to improve compliance, but to understand what changes in workflow & processes can help reduce that number.”
Effectivness? How about this: per cdc
[h=3]What kills influenza viruses?[/h]Influenza viruses can be destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics) and alcohols are effective against influenza viruses if used in proper concentrations for a sufficient length of time. For example, alcohol-based hand rubs can be used in the absence of soap and water for hand washing.
I agree with the poster that said that this debate can go on forever. However, I do hope that the learning part of this debate can be of some help to others. Whether each one of us is OK with a mandated flu shot or not, is not as important to me as learning the truth behind why all of a sudden it is mandated, it's true effectiveness , and all the other precautions that also should be in place. We as Nurse have a responsibility to promote health and to be the patients advocate. How can we do that when we are not aware of the facts behind the curtain?