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Author Topic: Any other poz health care professionals?  (Read 4700 times)

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Offline Callaway

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  • Posts: 10
Any other poz health care professionals?
« on: November 21, 2012, 12:10:36 AM »
I was diagnosed poz June 2011 (a shock indeed) and this is my first time reaching out to others since then.  My partner and I attended one session of a local support group and I was not comfortable and we have remained isolated since.  Iím a Canadian Registered Nurse (male) and having more of a tough time dealing with the stigma than the actual disease due to my profession and feeling the need to remain silent (of course my governing body knows, a requirement of the profession to report).  Anyone else out there experiencing the same thing or have any advice on coping?

Offline Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 469
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 01:27:30 AM »
Hey Callaway;

First, sorry you need to be here but welcome.

While I am not a health care professional, I defiantly struggle with the stigma for professional reasons.  I was diagnosed in June 2012 and have only disclosed to my partner.  I am looking forward to disclosure at a minimum to my family at some point, but I am not ready at all yet.

Anyway - the forums have been great for support, technical information, and being able to hear from others that have been able to manage this disease.  I have also found that a counselor that specializes in HIV has been very helpful.

Again, welcome.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Callaway

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 01:53:24 AM »
Hey JM; thanks for the response, my partner and I found out at the same time and have not disclosed to anyone else (me only one close friend); especially family.  We also went to a councellor a few times initially and found it somewhat helpful however she was not a councellor who specialized in the area of HIV; she did have a bout of cancer herself so could relate however not totally; I sort of felt that she was more focused on "lets wallow in pity for awhile then we need to move forward" which is ok however didn't help much with the emotional roller coaster that occurs; perhaps another councellor might be a consideration at some time;my main concern is the feeling of isolation without personal contact with others with the fear of possible disclosure; I am, however, appreciate of a communication venue such as this and thank you again for reaching out and welcome others as well.

Offline anniebc

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 05:08:22 AM »
Hi Callaway

I have been in the Health Care profession for 30+ years, I was an RN, I was diagnosed in Australia in 2002, but due to a sever seroconversion I was unable to go back to work, but I have always had the support of my work mates through out the last ten years.

I volunteer as an Ambulance Officer and First responder for the fire Service in NZ, maybe I'm one of the lucky ones because I have never had to deal with stigma, most health care workers are pretty good at accepting those who are in the same profession and living with HIV, at least that has been the situation with me, I hope yours will be a positive situation (no pun intended) with your work mates should you decide to disclose.

Stay focused, enjoy your career, I'm sure you will find the support in the work force when you are ready.

Aroha
Jan
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 469
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 10:40:33 AM »
Callaway;

my main concern is the feeling of isolation without personal contact with others with the fear of possible disclosure
I am not exactly sure what you mean here, but in a general sense I get the fear of isolation (particularly with family and those close to me) related to disclosure.

I found a counselor that specializes in HIV to be very helpful - he helped unpack the emotions around disclosure.  He could acknowledge why disclosure is hard, and then help me understand why disclosure is important with certain people, all the while noting that disclosure doesn't have to be today, this month, or this year, and not making any judgement on my decisions. This guy had clearly thought this stuff through in a very compassionate and professional way.  I think this kind of counseling requires someone that really understands the social, emotional, and medical sides of HIV.

I will also say that my partner has been fantastic through this - our relationship has strengthened because of it - and I think having that support is one reason I haven't needed to seek support from my family....for now.

I know you wanted to hear from other health care workers, hopefully they will be able to share their experience too.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Callaway

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 02:36:21 PM »
Hi Aroha; thanks for the words of encouragement and you certainly are fortunate to be working in an environment that is supportive and non-judgemental.

Offline Callaway

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  • Posts: 10
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 02:46:17 PM »
Hi JM; it's not a fear of isolation I've had, it's the frustration of the feeling unable to have support in a work environment due to the possibility of disclosure through someone else (for whatever reason - have you ever heard of the saying 'nurses eat their own?' - it's true!) thus putting my career and reputation in jeopardy. I guess it's my issue with trust at this point in time that I need to work through.  Being in a health related field, there's a perception of the 'professional' being the expert in 'prevention' which leads one who is HIV+ to be in a more vulnerable position when providing care to others.  I think you are right in needing to find a councellor who specializes in HIV in all aspects.  I too have support from my partner but I need to work through reaching out to others in person without feeling vulnerable which leads to the feeling of isolation.  Does this make sense?

Offline dale gribble

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 02:52:50 PM »
callaway I've known many in you field got to forget the hiv status and put it aside
2 RNs I known but didn't effect their jobs your status won't make a difference just fight what you think is right

Offline Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 469
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 03:18:43 PM »
Callaway;  Yes, that makes sense.  The counselor has been the best thing for me.  I know you mentioned not being comfortable with the support group.  Also, a few ASOs have online support group meetings (I haven't participated but I thought that was creative) but that may not meet your in person need.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline anniebc

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  • Posts: 5,938
  • AM member since 2003
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2012, 03:37:46 PM »
it's the frustration of the feeling unable to have support in a work environment due to the possibility of disclosure through someone else (for whatever reason - have you ever heard of the saying 'nurses eat their own?' - it's true!) thus putting my career and reputation in jeopardy. I guess it's my issue with trust at this point in time that I need to work through.  Being in a health related field, there's a perception of the 'professional' being the expert in 'prevention' which leads one who is HIV+ to be in a more vulnerable position when providing care to others. 

Hi Callaway

While it's not a case for dismissal for someone to disclose your status it certainly is a case for a sever repremand, just keep that in mind, and trust me if you ever decide to disclose I feel pretty you will have the support you need from those who matter.

Also being a health worker doesn't stop us from getting sick, we get sick from all sorts of things, we are not immune to anything just because we work as Health care professionals.

The amount of talks I do through out NZ, regarding HIV to Healthcare workers you will be surprised just how many know very little about HIV, prevention and/or treatment.

The only area we are not permitted to work in is theater, for obvious reasons, so you need to stop stressing, talk to a counselor it can only help.

BTW..my name is Jan, Aroha is Maori for love... ;D

Aroha
Jan
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Callaway

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  • Posts: 10
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2012, 08:17:25 PM »
JM...what is ASO?  do you have a link for the online support groups you mention?; I'd like to check that out.  Thanks.

Offline Rev. Moon

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  • Posts: 3,782
  • Smart ass faggot ©
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2012, 08:36:18 PM »
what is ASO? 

AIDS Service Organization.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline Callaway

  • Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2012, 08:47:24 PM »
Thanks RM; I haven't seen that abbreviation used here in Canada.  JM...sounds like your therapist is very good, I'm in search of a new one now; can you tell me abit about yours that you found very helpful.

Offline Jmarksto

  • Member
  • Posts: 469
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2012, 10:05:58 PM »
Callaway;

Thanks RM; I haven't seen that abbreviation used here in Canada.  JM...sounds like your therapist is very good, I'm in search of a new one now; can you tell me abit about yours that you found very helpful.

I was referred to my therapist by my HIV doctor.  I am sure that you could get a referral by your doctor, or through your ASO (social service organization who's mission is HIV prevention, testing, counseling, social support, etc.).  My therapist has been + almost 15 years and has counseled many others through this process.  He also works with gay men on other issues.  I do think it helps to have someone that really understands the issue (may not have to be + themselves) and counseling.  Also, my therapist is very "active" - he is not a "sit on the couch and listen to yourself" guy - he engages in discussion and challenges in a respectful way.

If you are comfortable indicating which city you are in there may be others on the forum that could give you a referral to service organizations and possibly a counselor (that may be a long shot).

Let me know if I can provide anything else.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD

Offline Callaway

  • Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2012, 11:13:56 PM »
Hey JM; I've been in touch with a local HIV organization (ASO) here and they were not friendly or helpful at all; they redirected me to the clinic where I go for my bloodwork and they are tracking down a therapist who use to work there and now works outside the organization in their own practice.  Can you tell me, when you go for your councelling sessions where are they located?  Are they at the ASO? If so, how do you feel about that?  I want to talk to someone who has lots of experience councelling in the area of HIV however the ASO here, their councellors only councel at that locaton and the councellors at the clinic only councel at the clinic; I guess it's my own paranoia that I still need to deal with however I hate having to go to the clinic for my bloodwork but do go.  If I have a choice in location (not the ASO or the clinic) for councelling that is my preference; being at the clinic and being a nurse I never know who I might run into in passing; I'm more comfortable in a more private environment; again, this is obviously stuff/feelings that I need to work through with my diagnosis; again its the stigma, not the rest as I'm on meds since April 2012 and my VL is undetectable and CD4 count 953; it's the emotional baggage I need to work on.

Offline anmlvrnyc

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  • Posts: 22
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2012, 05:32:36 PM »
hi callaway,
i know a nurse, an x-ray tech and a doctor who have been poz for many years. no one is required to disclose at work. work is work. as long as you do your job, that's what matters.

Offline Callaway

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  • Posts: 10
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2012, 10:10:34 PM »
Hi anmlvrnyc; thanks for the info, yes, I am aware that we don't need to disclose; it's the support they receive (if any) that I'm curious about.  Do they have a support network/group with other health care professionals? Or do they get involved in other support groups?  I'd be interested in their experiences.

Offline bob_89q

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  • Posts: 29
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2012, 07:03:50 PM »
Hi Callaway
I am an RN. I too understand what you are thinking and I can relate to this.
The perceived stigma and emotional baggage is difficult to manage. The physical illness can be straight foward as long as you continue to take your meds (when you are prescribed them) and have regular check ups.
Keep in contact with this forum.
Take care buddy

Offline LivingFree1989

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  • Posts: 27
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2013, 08:30:03 PM »
I guess I should chime in. I am a RN. I was + before I got into the nursing program. I have not disclosed to anyone at work. The stigma is great. The hardest thing is when I get HIV patients and I have to listen to ignorant staff share their views about it. It always shows that they are ignorant...

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2013, 06:52:37 AM »

I guess I should chime in. I am a RN. I was + before I got into the nursing program. I have not disclosed to anyone at work. The stigma is great. The hardest thing is when I get HIV patients and I have to listen to ignorant staff share their views about it. It always shows that they are ignorant...


I hope you do your best to disabuse the "ignorant staff" of their ignorant views when you're given these golden opportunities.

You don't have to disclose your status when you do this, you can easily do it from the point of view of an intelligent, knowledgeable and enlightened health care professional.

You don't have to be one of the pack by giving your tacit approval to their ignorance through your silence. 

And it has to be said - if you allow this ignorance to continue by keeping silent, you're no better than they are. Think about it.

Again, you do NOT have to disclose your own hiv status to use these incidents as teachable moments.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline AverageJoe

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2013, 07:07:28 AM »
I'm a registered nurse in England and sadly would not be at all comfortable disclosing my status.  I have found lack of knowledge, ignorance and stigma regarding HIV to be commonplace amongst healthcare professionals.

I did inform my occupational health dept and they were quite supportive.

Sadly it ended my career as accident and emergency nurse (due to exposure prone procedures) which I loved.

I now work in a cardiology unit.

Offline LivingFree1989

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2013, 02:54:37 AM »
Thanks Ann. Next time I will speak up!

Offline Ann

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 06:37:02 AM »

Thanks Ann. Next time I will speak up!


I'm so happy to read your response! :)

Remember, you don't have to disclose your own status. All you have to do is to present what you have to say as information they should already be aware of as health care professionals.

Maybe fudge the truth a little and tell them you have a cousin or whatever who is poz and let them know how let down he or she feels by unprofessional conduct by people who should know better. Sometimes an injection of personal anecdote makes people listen rather than tune-out.

I hope you come back and start a thread about your experience when you get a chance to put some of these unprofessional nurses right. (and I hope it's a good experience - good in that you get through to at least some and a change in their behaviour results.)

By the way, if this sort of thing happens a lot in your department, you might be able to request an hiv awareness refresher course for everyone. See your line manager (or whatever title your "boss" holds) and ask if this is possible. Some ASOs will come in and conduct the course so it's coming from the perspective of people who actually live with hiv.

Good luck. I'm so happy to hear that you're willing to do the right thing. It's refreshing. :)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline actonye

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Re: Any other poz health care professionals?
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2013, 05:09:53 AM »
Hi everyone,
Not sure where to start here. After going through medical school and being a doctor for 7 years, having my family look at me as the golden child, and now to be diagnosed with hiv? I had always been the advocate for safe sex, advising all my friends and anyone who cares to listen to practice safe sex, and then I get infected, still very confused as to how it happened. My ex has refused to answer my calls since my diagnoses.
I'm so scared as to what this means for my medical careear. I live in ireland and was planning on moving to the states to continue my medical training, now that's a dream that will never happen.
I'm so worried about my future, I can't tell my parents. My consultant tells me it'll be alright, but how can I ever be alright. As another healthcare professional, I would like to talk to anyone who out there is in the same situation as me . Please I'm severely depressed and feeling really suicidal at the moment .. Not sure if life is still worth living now..

 


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