This week I got a flu shot, free of charge from the hospital. I bared my deltoid muscle, allowing a nursing student to practice her immunization and injection skills. She did a pretty good job. It barely hurt. Those are penguins on the adhesive strip she covered the tiny bead of blood from the needle prick with, in the photo to the right.
I hardly thought twice about getting a flu shot this year, which hasn’t always been the case. In fact, in the past I opposed mandatory flu shots for nurses; arguing against someone else making rules about my body. While I was never threatened with job termination for refusing flu shots, some hospitals did make nurses refusing them uncomfortable with policies mandating they wear respiratory masks in patient care areas during flu season, or producing notes from their primary care provider explaining the nurse’s choice to avoid it; stuff like that.
What changed my mind about flu shots? I don’t know it has actually changed. What’s changed is my attitude: I don’t feel it’s worth the fuss anymore. It’s not a battle I choose to fight. I don’t know if this is a sign of maturity, or aging, but it’s lost its importance in the greater scheme of my life.
This year, and the last, I got a flu shot, and then I went back to work.
What about you? Are flu shots still a hot topic for nurses like they were in 2009, during the height of the H1N1 virus epidemic?
I am not a nurse but used to be anti-flu shot the reasoning being my body can fight off the flu if I eat right, exercise etc. A nurse at Good Sam in 1992 changed my mind. I was the caregiver along with my partner for her brother a formerly strong, handsome 32 year old now sick with AIDS. We were at the infusion center with him for some treatment and I was chatting with a nurse about flu shots. She said “you live with someone with HIV, get a flu shot, you don’t want him to get the flu on top of everything else”. I did and I have every year since. Through caring for my elderly mom and even when I was on chemo for breast cancer. As another wise nurse said to me “listen to the nurses”.
For 31 years, after receiving my first flu vaccine, I refused to get another one because I was sick for the entire year after receiving that first one. I was a young CNA at the time working my way through nursing school. I could have been chronically ill with virus after virus due to my high stress lifestyle at the time but I blamed the flu vaccine for 30 years. Finally, at age 51 I finally came to the same conclusion you did Julianna. It’s just not that big a deal. I have gotten a flu vaccine every year since turning 50 and I have never been sick afterwards. I am proud that I am protecting my patients more than I am protecting myself. Presurgical & Oncology Nurse
Comments are closed.