Pregnant ED RN--Is this discrimination or is it fair? Please weigh in.

  1. 0
    Preface
    I am 38 weeks pregnant and still being a CHAMP as an ED RN. I work the busy busy swing shift and have neither asked for nor expected any job modifications. However, most of my co-workers will gladly switch tasks with me if I have a patient that needs to go upstairs. For example, "I'll watch your patients and do your meds if you can push this patient upstairs for me and transfer them to the bed."

    I only ask co-workers to help me out with this when: a: my back is hurting/injured b: the patient is heavy or requires total lift assistance.

    Situation
    Last night while it was NOT busy, (charge nurse--who is male--was doing a computer game), I had a 200 pound man that needed to go upstairs. The pt had a sacral decubitus and couldn't help transfer himself. I asked my charge nurse to take the pt upstairs for me while I watched triage and his rooms.

    His response: "No, if you can't do the work then you shouldn't be at work. There's no such thing as light duty in the ER."

    So I took the patient up by myself.

    Please weigh in. Who is right? And what should I have done/do?
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    The CN was being a dink - but I don't think it rises to the point of calling it discrimination. What should you do? Accept the fact that he's a twerp, make a decision about how you'll handle any future requests by him for help, then move on.

    You've made it a point of pride that you've carried a full load with no concessions to your pregnancy all this time - you don't get to cry discrimination now that he's followed your lead and declined to be helpful when asked.

    I'm assuming, of course, that there were no adverse consequences for you from moving the patient yourself.
    anotherone, Altra, poppycat, and 2 others like this.
  5. 2
    Though he is right that there is no light duty in the ER, there should be something called teamwork. Used to be if health workers were pregnant, they were placed on light duty--no lifting over 30 lbs, etc. No more. Which I think is ridiculous.

    Probably the main prob is he's a man, and a charge, and you know that this can sometimes go to people's heads. Picture a violent psychotic on drugs....there's a 5'2 100lb nurse, and a 6'2 200 lb nurse.....who is more fit for the task? It doesn't make the little one incapable, it's simply better for everyone including the pt. Same thing for CPR--who would be better to do compressions and who to do recording? It's common sense, and he apparently has none.

    I wouldn't call it discrimination at all, just an a-hole. Everyone has limits. For instance, a nurse I work with is terrible about feet and vomit. I told her I'd trade all of those for any imbedded objects in the eyes or hacky-slashy on the wrists or neck. You shouldn't be straining yourself at this late week in your pg. If it happens again, find someone else to help, even if you take them upstairs yourself, find a nurse or CNA there to help. 99% will do so. He's the 1% of jerk-heads that are nurses for the wrong reason.
    Tina, RN and RNFiona like this.
  6. 0
    Agree with the others- being an ahole. I'm also pregnant and my coworkers have been great about helping me with lifting and transfers and avoiding certain isolation patients; I make sure to pitch in and help in ways that I can, but my coworkers have really been so kind and supportive.

    Be careful- lifting heavy things gets more and more unsafe. My doctor recently told me that the guideline for healthy pregnant women without complications is no more than 35 lbs. I'm sure most pregnant women push that a little, but transferring a 200 lb patient is pushing it a LOT. At some point your health and the baby's health needs to come before your pride.
  7. 1
    I wouldn't hesitate to help if you said "My back is aching, could you do this transfer for me?" I would feel put upon if you just expected tasks to be done just because you were pregnant. It's a small distinction, but it would make a big difference to me. Or your charge may just be a jerk.
    anotherone likes this.
  8. 2
    I've worked with several preggos and none of them needy by any means. They never ask for help so if one of them did, especially if they offered to do something for me, I'd jump on it.
    anotherone and RNFiona like this.
  9. 2
    Quote from livingthedream77
    Though he is right that there is no light duty in the ER, there should be something called teamwork. Used to be if health workers were pregnant, they were placed on light duty--no lifting over 30 lbs, etc. No more. Which I think is ridiculous.

    Probably the main prob is he's a man, and a charge, and you know that this can sometimes go to people's heads. Picture a violent psychotic on drugs....there's a 5'2 100lb nurse, and a 6'2 200 lb nurse.....who is more fit for the task? It doesn't make the little one incapable, it's simply better for everyone including the pt. Same thing for CPR--who would be better to do compressions and who to do recording? It's common sense, and he apparently has none.

    I wouldn't call it discrimination at all, just an a-hole. Everyone has limits. For instance, a nurse I work with is terrible about feet and vomit. I told her I'd trade all of those for any imbedded objects in the eyes or hacky-slashy on the wrists or neck. You shouldn't be straining yourself at this late week in your pg. If it happens again, find someone else to help, even if you take them upstairs yourself, find a nurse or CNA there to help. 99% will do so. He's the 1% of jerk-heads that are nurses for the wrong reason.
    Ouch, just to clarify, being a man is not a problem.
    Rose_Queen and Altra like this.
  10. 1
    While the way he said it sounds rude, he does have a point that if one is unable to perform the required work, one shouldn't be working in that environment. What were the recommendations of your OBGYN? If he or she has not implemented any restrictions, then your coworkers are not obligated to help you (not that they would if you were on restrictions and the hospital didn't offer a light duty option- you may have simply needed to take a medical leave at that point). The fact that they have speaks to great coworkers and teamwork, but there is no obligation on their part to do so. This is in no way discrimination, and the charge nurse may have refused for many reasons- maybe he has his own back problems, maybe he's helped before (with many nurses, not just you) and just didn't want to at that point or felt taken advantage of, and maybe he was just being a jerk.
    anotherone likes this.
  11. 0
    Your charge nurse is a tool.
  12. 1
    Quote from sarabear44
    PrefaceI am 38 weeks pregnant and still being a CHAMP as an ED RN. I work the busy busy swing shift and have neither asked for nor expected any job modifications. However, most of my co-workers will gladly switch tasks with me if I have a patient that needs to go upstairs. For example, "I'll watch your patients and do your meds if you can push this patient upstairs for me and transfer them to the bed." I only ask co-workers to help me out with this when: a: my back is hurting/injured b: the patient is heavy or requires total lift assistance.SituationLast night while it was NOT busy, (charge nurse--who is male--was doing a computer game), I had a 200 pound man that needed to go upstairs. The pt had a sacral decubitus and couldn't help transfer himself. I asked my charge nurse to take the pt upstairs for me while I watched triage and his rooms. His response: "No, if you can't do the work then you shouldn't be at work. There's no such thing as light duty in the ER."So I took the patient up by myself.Please weigh in. Who is right? And what should I have done/do?
    You haven't given enough information for us to know who is right. The fact that your charge nurse is male should have know bearing on the situation. Nor should the fact that you are pregnant. If you've asked someone to help you out because your back is hurting, and that person says no, it could be because their back is hurting -- or their knees or their shoulders. Or that the charge nurse was expecting a phone call from the staffing coordinator about replacing the six nurses that called in sick for the next shift. Or it could be that people aren't as happy to do your heavy lifting for you as you're assuming they are.
    anotherone likes this.


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