Nurse with disability

  1. 0
    What do nurses think about this? I will tell you what I know.

    We had a new nurse start about 2 months ago. Three years experience. She was taking assignments like the rest of us. Then after about a month after starting she does nothing but triage. She said that all the walking around is too much on her and at her old job all she did was triage. She has asthma and the walking around exacerbates it. Therefore, other staff members (with much more experience and senority) no longer rotate through triage like we used to. We would also like a brake sometimes and be able to sit. She is easily 70lbs overweight. She says that the asthma is a disabilty and we have to accomodate her.

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 5
    I'm disabled and not working. It wasn't a sudden thing, and while I WAS still working, I carried a full assignment. I did have some "repetitive motion" limits- but if I could take a break between helping the staff nurses (I was in charge), OR (when working LTC in a desk job) exchange something - like ALL of the IV-on-call stuff, I did that. If this was known at the time of hire, and the nurse manager is OK with it, I don't know what to say. If she did not disclose this on the post-hire medical form, that could be seen as an omission, and negate the job availability for her.

    If there is no actual and separate triage position, and nurses generally rotate through, I'd be p-o'd. Has anybody talked to the NM? There are accommodations to disability, but ONLY if it doesn't cause undue hardship on the general functioning of the normal routine of the unit.

    Check out the Americans with Disabilities Act....it's pretty clear that one disabled employee can't disrupt the whole place

    http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada17.html

    http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

    There also needs to be some medical documentation re: the disability- NOT just the nurse announcing that she's not able to do the job she was hired for....

    Good luck.
    Last edit by xtxrn on Sep 25, '11
    Esme12, BabyRN2Be, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  4. 4
    i would personally think its bs but what are you gong to go? Its management's decision. Be stoked you have a job. Do the best you can do, things will work out.
    lindarn, solidthickness, Esme12, and 1 other like this.
  5. 4
    In both the ADA and Section 504, a person with a disability is described as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or is regarded as having such impairments. Breathing, eating, working and going to school are "major life activities." Asthma and allergies are still considered disabilities under the ADA, even if symptoms are controlled by medication.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that gives the right to ask for changes where policies, practices or conditions exclude or disadvantage to the disabled person. As of January 26, 1992, public entities and public accommodations must ensure that individuals with disabilities have full access to and equal enjoyment of all facilities, programs, goods and services.

    The ADA borrows from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and education in agencies, programs and services that receive federal money. The ADA extends many of the rights and duties of Section 504 to public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, stores, doctors' offices, museums, private schools and child care programs. They must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. No one can be excluded or denied services just because he/she is disabled or based on ignorance, attitudes or stereotypes.

    A disability does not have to be "proved" and is present if it is assumed to be present. "Reasonable accommodation" and "undue hardship" are broad categories but specifics are listed under the law. Reassignment is NOT considered an undue hardship to the employer in most circumstances

    The ADA specifically lists "reassignment to a specific position" as a form of reasonable accommodation. This type of reasonable accommodation must be provided to an employee who, because of a disability, can no longer perform the essential functions of his/her current position, with or without reasonable accommodation, unless the employer can show that it would be an undue hardship.

    An employee must be "qualified" for the new position. An employee is "qualified" for a position if s/he: (1) satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position, and (2) can perform the essential functions of the new position, with or without reasonable accommodation.The employee does not need to be the best qualified individual for the position in order to obtain it as a reassignment.

    The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities, including reassignment, even though they are not available to others. Therefore, an employer who does not normally transfer employees would still have to reassign an employee with a disability, unless it could show that the reassignment caused an undue hardship. And, if an employer has a policy prohibiting transfers, it would have to modify that policy in order to reassign an employee with a disability, unless it could show undue hardship.

    http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html

    It is unfortunate however that not all hospital accommodate a disabled nurse and will go to extreme lengths to ensure a poor performance and some nurses with "disabilities" abuse the system. I guess I was never smart enough to manipulate the system in my favor..... But this nurse is well within the law.
  6. 2
    Reasonable accommodation is the law. Does you manager assign triage to her? Since she can't "walk around without exacerbating her asthma" what happens if she has a patient collapse in triage and she has to run to get a code cart or stretcher?
    If management is not aware, they need to be. if they are aware but if management/HR decided that plopping her in triage is a reasonable accommodation there is not much you can do.

    However personally I don't understand how she can be an effective triage nurse if she never does bedside care? Practical clinical experience is usually a necessity to be an effective triage nurse
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Sep 25, '11
    canoehead and lindarn like this.
  7. 7
    Quote from stx
    i'm disabled and not working. it wasn't a sudden thing, and while i was still working, i carried a full assignment. i did have some "repetitive motion" limits- but if i could take a break between helping the staff nurses (i was in charge), or (when working ltc in a desk job) exchange something - like all of the iv-on-call stuff, i did that. if this was known at the time of hire, and the nurse manager is ok with it, i don't know what to say. if she did not disclose this on the post-hire medical form, that could be seen as an omission, and negate the job availability for her.

    if there is no actual and separate triage position, and nurses generally rotate through, i'd be po'd. has anybody talked to the nm? there are accommodations to disability, but only if it doesn't cause undue hardship on the general functioning of the normal routine of the unit.

    check out the americans with disabilities act....it's pretty clear that one disabled employee can't disrupt the whole place

    http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada17.html

    http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

    there also needs to be some medical documentation re: the disability- not just the nurse announcing that she's not able to do the job she was hired for....

    good luck.
    you do not have to disclose the need for "reasonable accommodation" on a job application or at anytime until you are requesting that accommodation. even if it was mentioned it is against the law to discriminate against them and the employer is obligated to accomodate even if requestes during the interview.

    reasonable accommodation
    title i of the americans with disabilities act of 1990 (the "ada") requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. "in general, an accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities."there are three categories of "reasonable accommodations":
    "(i) modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or
    (ii) modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or
    (iii) modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities."
    the duty to provide reasonable accommodation is a fundamental statutory requirement because of the nature of discrimination faced by individuals with disabilities. although many individuals with disabilities can apply for and perform jobs without any reasonable accommodations, there are workplace barriers that keep others from performing jobs which they could do with some form of accommodation. these barriers may be physical obstacles (such as inaccessible facilities or equipment), or they may be procedures or rules (such as rules concerning when work is performed, when breaks are taken, or how essential or marginal functions are performed). reasonable accommodation removes workplace barriers for individuals with disabilities.

    reasonable accommodation is available to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. reasonable accommodations must be provided to qualified employees regardless of whether they work part- time or full-time, or are considered "probationary." generally, the individual with a disability must inform the employer that an accommodation is needed.

    there are a number of possible reasonable accommodations that an employer may have to provide in connection with modifications to the work environment or adjustments in how and when a job is performed. these include:
    • making existing facilities accessible;
    • job restructuring;
    • part-time or modified work schedules;
    • acquiring or modifying equipment;
    • changing tests, training materials, or policies;
    • providing qualified readers or interpreters; and
    • reassignment to another or vacant position.
    a modification or adjustment is "reasonable" if it "seems reasonable on its face, i.e., ordinarily or in the run of cases;" this means it is "reasonable" if it appears to be "feasible" or "plausible" to the employer not that it may make the other employees mad and upset. an accommodation also must be effective in meeting the needs of the individual. in the context of job performance, this means that a reasonable accommodation enables the individual to perform the essential functions of the position. similarly, a reasonable accommodation enables an applicant with a disability to have an equal opportunity to participate in the application process and to be considered for a job. finally, a reasonable accommodation allows an employee with a disability an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment that employees without disabilities enjoy.

    http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/acco...n.html#general

    there is no legal obligation for an employee to disclose their disability. disclosure of disability becomes relevant to both the employee and employer when negotiating appropriate adjustments in the workplace to enable inherent requirements of the position to be met.

    http://www.indiana.edu/~career/servi...s/discl856.pdf

    i personally have never been able to manipulate the law in my favor through reasonable accomodation and i cannot prove that they are not hiring me becasue i am disabled ( they are of course seeking other canidates with more experience for that telephone triage job)....but i do know the law and technically speaking she's well within her "rights". the law states undue stress to the employer not that the employee's might get po'd that the disabled person gets a different position......sad but true.

    http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/disabil...sibilities.htm

    i have fought both sides of this fence once for discrimination for my disability and once begging for accomodation. oh well........now i just haunt an with my new friends...
    OCNRN63, Altra, sharpeimom, and 4 others like this.
  8. 2
    It can be argued that this type of accommodation is a hardship for the employer because it inhibits capacity building and may result in suboptimal patient outcomes. If the hospital follows a capacity building framework and the goal of the framework is to have an optimal number of nurses with complementary skills, to provide the best possible patient outcomes, then having one nurse do all the triage, minimizes the other ER nurses' triage skill building and may decrease patient outcomes.
    Pixie.RN and JustBeachyNurse like this.
  9. 0
    Sorry but if you can't do the job you were hired to do then you need to find something else. The other nurses should not have to tolerate being out of triage rotation because one nurse finds the back work too taxing. She was hired to do the job everyone else does only now she is saying she wants just one small aspect of the job exclusively for herself to hell with everyone else.

    Buh bye! Time to find a job where the job description you are hired under specifics that it is a triage only position.
  10. 0
    Quote from mom-n-student
    Reasonable accommodation is the law. Does you manager assign triage to her? Since she can't "walk around without exacerbating her asthma" what happens if she has a patient collapse in triage and she has to run to get a code cart or stretcher?
    If management is not aware, they need to be. if they are aware but if management/HR decided that plopping her in triage is a reasonable accommodation there is not much you can do.

    However personally I don't understand how she can be an effective triage nurse if she never does bedside care? Practical clinical experience is usually a necessity to be an effective triage nurse
    How about her just using a wheelchair? Then she does not have to walk and there are plenty there I am shore she is very lucky they did that for around her they would just find some way to get read of you .

    A co-worker has Bad asthma and our office is up two flights of steps she asked to have her doc called hr and asked to have her office Moved and they told her no my foot is messed up right now and I can not wate for tomorrow when I have to drag my self on my hands and knees up and down two flights of steps
  11. 6
    Quote from Esme12
    It is unfortunate however that not all hospital accommodate a disabled nurse and will go to extreme lengths to ensure a poor performance and some nurses with "disabilities" abuse the system. I guess I was never smart enough to manipulate the system in my favor..... But this nurse is well within the law.
    I am a disabled nurse who has been able to work for the past 15 years with reasonable accommodations. Your summation is the best I have ever seen. I'll be bookmarking this thread for reference for future discussions on the topic.

    I've also learned with time that the biggest barriers I've encounter have been other nurses. Heaven forbid they think someone has the cushier job than they do. I hope they never find themselves in a position where they are too broken to do a job but not broken enough to qualify for disability.
    Last edit by kids on Sep 25, '11
    newrngrad, pedicurn, OCNRN63, and 3 others like this.


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