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'I'm afraid of contracting a patient's illness'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I’m very grateful and happy to be studying nursing but there’s one thing I can’t stop thinking about: I’m terribly afraid of catching an illness at work.

”When we learnt about bloodborne illnesses in class, like Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, I was instantly terrified.

”Injections and IVs are something we regularly handle as nurses, and something I’ve already encountered on placement but I just can’t get over the idea that one mistake could result in me catching an incurable disease.

”I get the sweats and a stomach ache whenever I think about having to do anything involving blood - so much so that it’s even affecting my technique on placement. My hands get shaky.

“What can I do to feel better about this? I really, really want to be a nurse, and I want to get past this, but I just can’t shake my fear. Help!”

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Readers' comments (4)

  • I suggest you do a literature search and discover how rare it is for health care practitioners to "catch" diseases such as the ones you mention during the normal course of work.

    By adhering to good practice "risk" is virtually eliminated.

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  • Health care practioners can be more likely to submit to diseases. ill-health and infections in their personal life e.g food poisoning, substance misuse, STD etc.
    As a side-issue how many people work and infect others with their symptoms?Especialy if in short-staffed environments or they are on Zero-hour contracts.

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  • Do some serious reading and chat to some doctors and you will soon realise you're safe! I've never caught anything dire.

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  • Lets get buggy.....

    the reality is we work to reduce or treat disease and a vast array of health issues. you will receive training and will have the opportunity to read policies to prevent and lessen the likelihood of contracting anything.
    May i also point out diseases and transmission are not solely in hospital and car environments . The Public and public areas,schools,transport are high risk areas in society. Infant we are surrounded by risk. so do have confidence in your training guidelines,talk to your mentor and tutors if need be and professionals. At the end of the day you will be supporting some of the most vulnerable people within society and need to ask yourself ,are you going to be able to support them confidently. this what nurses within our profession do and do it well.
    good luck

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