Who spends more time with patients than the healthcare worker? Physicians, nurses, dieticians, physical therapist, housekeeping, and social workers are in and out of patient rooms multiple times a day. But for the most part, the nursing assistants spend the majority of the shift physically caring for Long-term Care patients; no one else gets in such close proximity, or as often.
If any healthcare worker is harboring an occult, infectious disease, it is more than likely he or she will have the opportunity to transmit those organisms to the patient. Without positive participation in a vaccine program, healthcare workers are potential sources of transmissible diseases. APIC Influenza Vaccine for Healthcare Workers
The staff developer needs to promote staff education on the benefits of vaccination. Why are healthcare workers resistant to taking vaccines?
The most common answer I hear to this question is fear of needle sticks.
- Fear of a needle stick is a meager excuse for not taking advan tage of Hepatitis B and Influenza vaccines.
- There is also a lot of resistance to TB testing on the part of healthcare workers. The worker may insist without documentation, that they have always had a positive PPD, then request a chest x-ray in lieu of an intradermal needle stick.
- DSD in-service could point out the current national, state and local infection control recommendations do not support the use of a chest x-ray for convenience; it should be explained that compliance with TB testing is a condition of employment.