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Do RN's need to disclose
Feb 26, 2007

Do RN's need to share their positive HIV status with their employer? How about their co-workers? How about their patients?

Response from Ms. Breuer

1. Employers: read the hospital policy on infectious diseases and disclosure. If it doesn't require disclosure for HIV infection, you'll have the only answer that matters: the employer's own policy.

2. Co-workers: Think nine times before doing this. What outcome would you want? Expect? Why would you disclose? There is no requirement to disclose; it's voluntary. There's also no such thing as telling just a few co-workers. It becomes all or none.

3. There is no requirement to disclose to patients. The RN/patient relationship is about helping the patient to get well, not about moral support for the RN, so it's hard to imagine a good rationale for telling patients. There is no legal requirement to do so. If you are involved in an invasive procedure and are concerned about a patient's wellbeing because of possible contact with your blood, please have someone else do that procedure. Short of invasive procedures that could involve exchange of blood, an HIV-positive RN poses no threat to the health of a patient.

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