Some Nurses Are Personally Against Vaccines.
By: Mariam Yazdi
Earlier this season, a Facebook post from a nurse in Ohio gained media attention for its controversial demeanor. Evidently, the nurse had been administering flu vaccinations, and expressed that she was “exhausted” from causing “1 autism a minute.”
Concern arose from a mother of the disability community, who stated she felt this nurse should have had more professionalism in her post, especially in regards to autism.
As usually happens on Facebook, discussion on the news piece formed in the comment section of the post with points from both sides of the vaccination argument: those in favor of vaccines argued over the consideration towards others in the community as well as influenza-related deaths. Those against vaccines argued the validity of disease eradication and noted reported links to autism.
Not All Nurses Support Vaccinations
However, an interesting viewpoint surfaced, and it was something that you wouldn’t typically hear at work – nurses across cyberspace vocalized their stance against vaccines.
In the comments, many nurses proudly stated their profession and their opinion, letting the internet know that they have been educated in their field and may even administer flu vaccines during their workday, but do not practice vaccination in their own personal lives. Other nurses who felt similarly jumped into the related thread with a “me too!” and others told stories of making their social media presence untraceable to their real identity due to threats of being reported to the Board of Nursing because of their vaccination beliefs.
Naturally, this fostered a two-sided reaction from both nurses and non-nurses alike. Some stated they felt validated that other medical professionals held similar anti-vaccination beliefs; others argued that nurses with said views needed better education on the effectiveness of vaccines.
Whether you are for vaccines or against them, one truth is undeniable: working in healthcare does not make you an automatic advocate of vaccination.
Do Personal Beliefs Affect Patient Care?
Nurses, doctors, nurse assistants, and all members of the healthcare team are individuals each with his or her own opinions and beliefs, and many – regardless of their respective medical education – may decide that vaccinating against the flu is not something they wish to practice in their own personal lives.
For those heading to your local clinic or pharmacy this fall season: is this news unsettling?
Is it a conflict of interest? Would you want to know that the person who is administering your vaccine believes in the very treatment they are injecting into your muscle?
Frankly, real life shows us that healthcare workers are not always morally in-tune with every treatment they give - vaccines being a perfect example.
Nurses do this all the time – they are placed in a position where they may need to administer care they personally do not believe in. It does not mean they are poor advocates for their patients, are not thinking critically, or are lacking in judgment. It means they are putting the patient first, even above their own beliefs.
It does not mean they are poor advocates for their patients, are not thinking critically, or are lacking in judgment. It means they are putting the patient first, even above their own beliefs.
Everyone Has A Right To Decline Vaccination
Personal biases aside, everyone has the right to make their own vaccination decision. Whether the patient is being discharged home and refuses the vaccine, or a parent comes to the clinic to have their child vaccinated, both are entitled to the same thing: informed consent. It is what gives the patient power over his or her own medical decisions and works to eliminate morally controversial situations.
Whether the patient is being discharged home and refuses the vaccine, or a parent comes to the clinic to have their child vaccinated, both are entitled to the same thing: informed consent. It is what gives the patient power over his or her own medical decisions and works to eliminate morally controversial situations.
Which side of the argument do you lean towards? Does it surprise you to know that medical professionals may disagree with the treatment they are supposed to endorse?