Devon E. Jones, RN BSN
This email was written in November 2021 opposing the COVID vaccine mandate my employer, Overlook Hospital of Atlantic Health System, implemented in December of 2021.
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving.
I received a call from Human Resources on 11/17/21 stating that I was being terminated effective 12/5/21, not placed on unpaid administrative leave if I am unvaccinated [as I am now being told]. I have previously stated that the consequences of AHS’s COVID vaccine mandate for their employees who have chosen to not vaccinate is unclear. I find this disturbing based on the consequences these choices have on my and my family’s mental and financial health.
I am again asking that Atlantic Health System reconsider their COVID vaccine mandate, whether the consequence is termination or unpaid administrative leave. I have written to my manager about being short-staffed despite the use of travel nurses on our unit. I do not feel that my termination or placement of unpaid administrative leave is in the best interest of my unit or the hospital for my fellow employees or my patients.
I have a proven history of working in the best interest of my fellow coworkers and patients during this pandemic. I worked on 10CD during the height of the pandemic in 2020 indirect patient care for positive COVID 19 patients. I was looking to transfer units before COVID hit Overlook but chose to stay because it was the right thing to do for my unit and my patients. During that time from March 2020 to July 2020 when I did eventually transfer, I picked up extra shifts, worked nights, and volunteered to work the ICUs despite being pregnant. In December 2020 when the bonus was issued for nurses for their work during the pandemic I was left out because I was not an active employee – I was on maternity leave starting in November of 2020.
Even now, I work double the shifts I am required as a per diem employee. This week alone, despite my impending termination or placement on unpaid administrative leave, I am working four shifts to help staff my unit.
I have been diligent with my COVID 19 testing since it has been required for unvaccinated employees. I have appreciated the opportunity to maintain safety for myself, my coworkers, and patients while maintaining my self-determination. I am willing to continue this testing going forward if Atlantic Health would permit it with my unvaccinated status.
I have called and written to my primary care provider, Martinsville Family Practice of Atlantic Health System, requesting a medical exemption based on my having positive antibodies against COVID. They have not replied. Are other employees having difficulties with receiving medical exemptions or having them approved by Atlantic Health System?
Devon E. Jones, RN BSN
Currently, I’m on unpaid administrative leave from Overlook Hospital of Atlantic Health System in New Jersey because of the COVID vaccination mandates. Well, at least I think I am. AHS has not responded to my e-mails since my last day of work on December 4, 2021, and I have not been given notice of termination or change in my employment status. (Last updated 6/2022)