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Mercy implements nicotine-free hiring policy effective July 1, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As a health care organization with a mission-driven commitment to create healthier communities, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines will implement a nicotine-free hiring policy for all job applicants at its hospitals, clinics, outpatient centers and all other facilities effective July 1, 2011.

“Mercy’s primary goal is to improve the health and well-being of the patients and families it serves. By living our mission of creating healthier communities, we support healthier lifestyles,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Robyn Wilkinson.

Under the new policy, all physicians, nurses and other individuals who apply for a position with Mercy on or after July 1 will be tested for nicotine during the regular pre-employment screening process. Those who test positive for nicotine will be eliminated from hiring consideration with the option to reapply after six months.

The policy does not apply to current Mercy employees who smoke or use tobacco products unless they leave the organization and reapply for future employment with Mercy on or after July 1. However, those employees are strongly encouraged to use the smoking cessation options afforded them under Mercy's health and wellness benefits.

“We recognize smoking or using tobacco products is not illegal,” said Wilkinson. “However, our employees have an obligation to set a good example for the communities we serve. By implementing a nicotine-free hiring policy, Mercy will be expecting its employees to model the same healthy behaviors it encourages of its patients and their family members.”

While Mercy is the first member of the Iowa Hospital Association to make nicotine-free a condition for employment, the organization has promoted and supported a tobacco-free health care environment since 2006, when it partnered with other local hospitals in an effort to prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco products on its campuses.

Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines 
(515) 247-3050
cell (515) 490-6636

(515) 247-3121
1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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