Is it Dangerous to Work with HIV/AIDS Patients?

Are you a nurse or a prospective nursing student interested in earning a certification that will qualify you for positions where you will care for HIV and AIDS patients? If you would like to work with patients who have contracted an incurable disease, you will need to provide both medical support and emotional support to the patients themselves and their families. Becoming an HIV/AIDS nurse will give you a chance to help the community, but you may be wondering how safe working with patients who are infected with a deadly virus can be. If your primary concern is your safety while you are in your workplace, read on and find out about the risks of patient-facing HIV/AIDS nursing professionals.

Professionals Learn About Safety and Infection Precautions Early on In School

Obviously, to become a nurse you must earn your degree in nursing and prove to the state that you are competent by passing a national certification exam. During schooling, you will take several different core courses, and one of these courses will prepare you for the processes of patient treatment to patients with HIV/AIDS. Any program that is accredited by the American Nurses Association will have a requirement to cover AIDS/HIV infection content so that all students who graduate know the universal precautions and occupational health and safety issues that are associated with working with all patients infected or not.

All individuals should know the precautions of coming into contact with bodily fluid. There are many standards in healthcare that will keep exposure risks low. Hand hygiene, protective equipment, respiratory hygiene and safe climates are all important, and following these standards can keep you safe with any patient.

Post-Exposure Programs For Nursing Professionals

In any medical setting that HIV/AIDS patients are treated there is potential for a clinical nurse to be exposed to the virus. If you are exposed to the virus in a clinical setting, you will have peace of mind in knowing that all hospitals and facilities are required to have a post-exposure program developed. This program ensures that nurses can get access to healthcare and are assured protections consistent with the regulations that are set by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. While there is not a cure for HIV/AIDS, a serum has been developed for individuals who may have been recently exposed to the virus to prevent contraction. This is administered to any medical professionals who are exposed.

Risk Depends on the Setting

There are several different HIV/AIDS nursing positions that you can choose from, and you need to decide where you would like to work before you cross this specialty off of the list. If you are working in a specialty hospital directly with patients, or in a hospice environment, the risks of getting exposed to the infection are higher than the risks are for prevention nurses and educators. While this is true, the safeguards that have been put in place were created to keep nurses safe in the workplace.

If you want to become an HIV/AIDS nurse, the very first step is earning your nursing degree. Once you possess your degree, take your NCLEX exam and work as an RN to gain experience in the HIV/AIDS field. With experience, you can enroll to take your ACRN licensure exam and then become an AIDS certified specialist through the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care where you will connect with patients and administer treatments for pain management. Work in this structured environment and live a fulfilling life where you can help patients live the best quality of life even after their diagnosis.