Flu Shot? Yes, Check That Box

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.

Flu shot? Yes. Check that box

Flu shot? Yes. Check that box

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?

The H1N1 Vaccine: I Took One for the Team


Romeo & Juliette

Romeo & Juliette 2009 oil on unstretched canvas artist: JParadisi


 This post is in response to  a post by Shawn Kennedy MA, RN, interim editor-in-chief of the AJN blog,  Off the Chart. Read the original post here:


     I stood in line and took the H1N1 vaccine.

     I didn’t do it out of guilt, or because of media induced panic. When it came down to it, I did it because of a child I love, and for a close family member who is pregnant. That’s all. I don’t want to catch the virus at work, and give it to either of these people.  So far, my arm hasn’t fallen off or anything. 

     I respect every health care worker’s right to make their own decision about the vaccine.  Of course, all kinds of parallels can be drawn from this issue, including the rights of smokers to smoke, the right to drink soda without taxation, the right to drive without a seat belt, be overweight, or ride a bicycle without a helmet. 

    One characteristic of effective conflict resolution between two parties is to stay issue focused. Otherwise, indeed, “slippery-slope” thinking occurs.  A health care worker may not want the H1N1 vaccination, but be pro-life.  One doesn’t necessarily support the other.  

     I agree, the arguments are similar, but one issue at a time, please.

(late entry/clarification: I am not advocating for the above listed behaviors.  I think that not smoking is probably the single most  important thing an idividual can do to stay healthy. The list simply illustrates that we live in a society which creates laws regarding personal freedoms.)