Do I have to tell my new employer that my nose swab came back with colonized MRSA?

By | 2022-02-07T18:04:44-05:00 July 3rd, 2008|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I worked in home health care and was around numerous patients who had MRSA. I was not always aware that the patient had MRSA. I used universal precautions, but I still had a feeling that I had MRSA. I decided to leave home health nursing and accepted job in long-term care/assisted living. I gave notice with my current employer and had physical by new employer’s doctors. The physical was completed with no problems. I decided to have physical by my physician’s assistant and asked to have nose swab done. The specimen came back with colonized MRSA. I started Bactroban one week ago. Do I have to report this to my new employer, as I am starting work in one week and feel that they will pass on employing me? I was also advised that the only accurate way that MRSA can be identified is if there is a boil or wound to culture it — that the nares is not completely accurate way to test. Does this mean that I have to report this to everyone? Information is so confusing.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Lynn,

I am not an expert on MRSA, but the bottom line is whether or not you are contagious. Check with your primary healthcare provider (PHP) about this. If you are contagious, I think you would have an obligation to report it to your employer, although I don’t think your PHP would advise you to work in a healthcare setting if you were. Please check with your PHP about how to proceed.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Preorder (through July 2008) your copy of the The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses for only 24.95 at To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit


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