Tested positive for TB 1 step test?

Posted
by Anon101 Anon101 Member

Hello all, I'm a BScN student and about to graduate in a few months. I had the yearly 1 step TB skin test done, which the physician determined as positive, with a 16mm induration. I have always tested negative prior to this. I don't have any signs or symptoms of TB. Also, I was born in North America so didn't get the BCG vaccine. I have to go for a chest x-ray pretty soon, and I'm a little worried that it might affect my ability to participate in clinical practice and work in the NICU (which is my goal). I don't really understand how I may have even acquired this since I don't recall coming in contact with patients who were TB positive. If the chest x-ray is negative, can it prevent me from continuing in the nursing program or work in the NICU down the road?

EternalFeather

EternalFeather

Has 3 years experience. 101 Posts

it shouldnt. you were probably exposed but if you arent sick or showing symptoms, the worst that could happen right now would be you being on tb prophylaxis. but its ultimately the school's decision if they let you rotate. but when you graduate and become an actual RN i dont think a history of positive ppd will make you unfit to work in the nicu, unless you have active tb.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions. 4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

In nursing school, I had a classmate who always tested positive for the PPD. She provided chest x-rays as needed. She didn't have a problem at school and she didn't have a problem securing employment.

Healthcare is a high-risk area for TB so you have lots of potential exposures. In addition, patients themselves may not be aware they have an infection, so you don't know for certain that you didn't come in contact with a TB patient. You may not have even known you were exposed to TB until you tested positive.

Testing positive on a PPD is not a career killer. As long as your chest x-rays are good and you don't have an active infection, you should be fine.

And if you are actively infected, get treated ASAP.

WanderingWilder

WanderingWilder, ASN

Specializes in Med-Surg. 385 Posts

My husband tested positive and was found to be negative after the chest x-ray. I wouldn't panic yet get the x-ray and go from there.

Anon101

Anon101

82 Posts

Thanks all. I went in for my chest x-ray today, and will have to wait a few days for the report to come in. I knew the risks before going into nursing, but it's still a strange feeling when being tested positive.

joleneliddell

joleneliddell

87 Posts

I had a friend who'd seemingly tested positive for TB and was found negative after a chest x-ray; we were both CNAs working with a high risk population. Basically, they sent her in for a chest x-ray asap and did not allow her to come back to work until the results were in - as soon as she'd cleared, she was allowed back on the floor!

Wiggly Litchi

476 Posts

Hey there - I'm British (live in the USA) and had the BCG vaccine so I always test positive on the skin test now; it's no big deal.

All I do is provide a copy of a chest xray to employers/college/immigration etc who wish to see it. You may want to make sure that the Radiologist specifically reports that it is negative for TB; I had issues going for my CNA clinicals a few years back because even though my xray said it was all-clear, it didn't specifically say that there was no sign of TB so my school was trying to say it was invalid (lol).

Keep your copy of your chest xray report along with your immunization records and you'll be fine - I think chest xray reports last for like 5 years now, so that's pretty neat!

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 11 years experience. 1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Thanks all. I went in for my chest x-ray today, and will have to wait a few days for the report to come in. I knew the risks before going into nursing, but it's still a strange feeling when being tested positive.

It's honestly more likely that you became exposed at the grocery store than one of your clinical rotations. As the others have said, as long as you have a negative x-ray, it won't affect your career.

Anon101

Anon101

82 Posts

Just wanted to provide a quick update. The CXR was negative. The school just told me to get the yearly CXR and I don't need to have the skin test done again. It doesn't impact my placements at all. I appreciate all the responses!

amoLucia

amoLucia

Specializes in retired LTC. 7,735 Posts

To Anon - TY for the comeback. Folk hold on to the wish that everything turns out OK, so it's nice to learn that all is well in the kingdom!

amoLucia

amoLucia

Specializes in retired LTC. 7,735 Posts

And just to re-iterate - NEVER, EVER, NEVER, get another PPD. Don't let anyone talk you into a skin test.

Another exposure could cause horrendous scars - I saw a CNA's scar that looked like a burn keloid on her whole lower forearm.