Disabled RN Let Go

  1. 0
    In January of 2000 through a comedy( i have to keep my sense of humor here) of errors at a local hospital i ended up on a vent for 3 weeks. 4 weeks after being extubated i lost my airway, now after a tracheostomy and many laser surgeries I am still 100% occluded just superior to my Shiley Trach. I could have a radical resection with pull-up but the MD says with high scarring factor and being a diabetic he puts my chance of recovery at less than 70%.

    With that i decieded i wished to return to work in some form. I work for one the the top 10 hospital in the US. I was told at this time that there was no room in any hospital for an RN that could not speak, much less one with a trach. Now i know perhaps working with patients would not be a good idea i know there are many RN duties i could do. However the chance to prove myself will not be allowed. Countless letter and emails have been ignored, my Leave of Absense that was to be for a year was canceled at 6 months as i was "no longer viable as an RN"

    Guess i am just looking for the opinions of my peers. I am highly trained with a BSN with special training in Head and Neck( ahh the irony of that)and BS in Computer Science. Please give me your honest opinions. Would you work with/hire an RN that cannot speak. BTW i have trained my laptop and desktop computers to "talk" for me. Thanks for you time.
  2. 913 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    If Stephen Hawking (with his severely advanced form of ALS) could still teach theoretical physics at Cambridge University with his computer doing his talking, then I think you could still work as an RN. The problem you have, though, is that the hospitals will not hire you; you will have to go and find your own area of nursing that does not depend on being employed in a facility. So what does that leave you? You have 2 BS degrees, and special training in "Head and Neck," is there some way you can get involved (even on a volunteer basis) to get your feet in the door of a company that uses those skills and degrees? Or being a salesperson for a company that makes voice synthasizers? How about writing a book for trach patients? Or a text book for student nurses? I don't know if I would ever be in a position to hire someone who can't speak- I'm a staff nurse and hope to stay at the bedside until I retire- but I have worked with nurses who have had laryngitis and have temporarily not been able to speak. It is hard for staff and patients who can not understand the nurse, but not totally impossible. I don't think a talking laptop computer would be feasible 8 hours a day in a normal hospital setting on the job as a nurse. You mentioned that you think there are many types of RN duties you are capable of doing in a hospital; what are these? I understand that there are nurses who are no longer able to work as nurses when they lose their eyesight, but in this environment of a nursing shortage, there must be something you could do to take advantage of your knowledge and skills.
  5. 0
    Hi Hemastat,
    Was just wondering if you have ever considered talking to a local pulmnologist about working for him as a patient educator for patients with trachs? I feel sure there must be some type of patient teaching areas that could benefit from your knowledge and experience as a patient. Maybe as a nurse educator teaching nursing and resiratory therapists how to care for trachs. You keep looking and keep your head up. I worked for a 6 month period on a walker after a hip fracture. I know this has to be difficult for you, but don't gve up. With your training and skills something is bound to come along. God bless you .

    Originally posted by HemaStat:
    In January of 2000 through a comedy( i have to keep my sense of humor here) of errors at a local hospital i ended up on a vent for 3 weeks. 4 weeks after being extubated i lost my airway, now after a tracheostomy and many laser surgeries I am still 100% occluded just superior to my Shiley Trach. I could have a radical resection with pull-up but the MD says with high scarring factor and being a diabetic he puts my chance of recovery at less than 70%.

    With that i decieded i wished to return to work in some form. I work for one the the top 10 hospital in the US. I was told at this time that there was no room in any hospital for an RN that could not speak, much less one with a trach. Now i know perhaps working with patients would not be a good idea i know there are many RN duties i could do. However the chance to prove myself will not be allowed. Countless letter and emails have been ignored, my Leave of Absense that was to be for a year was canceled at 6 months as i was "no longer viable as an RN"

    Guess i am just looking for the opinions of my peers. I am highly trained with a BSN with special training in Head and Neck( ahh the irony of that)and BS in Computer Science. Please give me your honest opinions. Would you work with/hire an RN that cannot speak. BTW i have trained my laptop and desktop computers to "talk" for me. Thanks for you time.
  6. 0
    I think some one is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities act here. I would not blame you if you sued.
  7. 0
    You're an experienced RN (BSN)with a BS
    in Computer Science. You're obviously very
    bright and maintain a sense of humor --
    I'd be honored to work with you. There IS
    a perfect nursing position out there. However, I agree with the previous post --
    get an excellent lawyer and have him/her contact your former employer. You should be
    covered under the American Disabilities Act.
    Shame on your "top 10" hospital for treating
    you so poorly. Document everything. Hang in
    there. Get a lawyer and follow through.
  8. 0
    Shame on 'em! However; when a door closes , another opens. Perhaps it is God's intent that you devote your work elsewhere. With all your experience clinically as well as personally; sounds like the path is leading you towards a Respiratory Rehab type program, but couldn't you have done Quality Control, Infection Control, or something similar in the hospital where you were employed? Definitely sounds like you are being discriminated against.

    ------------------
  9. 0
    Hi HemaStat. I don't know what the ADA contains, but I'm sure it's worth a legal consult to get an opinion. What happened to you is unfortunate, but it's great that you're standing up for yourself. Keep up the fight. I don't know what country you're from, but the U.S., in particular, seems to be good at marginalizing those who don't seem to fit into a certain mold. You will find that if you are able to get back in the traditional setting of practice that others will be uncomfortable until they get use to communicating with you in a new way. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect discomfort with change.

    In addition to talking through your computer, do you do sign language? I think that while you're trying to get a position to get back into the patient care arena, you could learn sign language. You'll be the envy of many people-being proficient in conventional language, computers, and sign language. Maybe you'll find a niche that will allow you to apply nursing, computer, and sign language if you decide to pursue that area. There is such a need for workers, including nurses, to go into special education. Best wishes.

    [This message has been edited by Mijourney (edited January 25, 2001).]
  10. 0
    HemaStat,

    Sounds like you have had a rough time of it and I am sorry...the hospital definitely lost out!!!

    There are many good suggestions here! Have you considered going into Nurse Informatics or plain old information technology, distance education or working with deaf people/children or volunteering to translate (if you learned sign language- not that hard to do), help sign for nursing classes...something like that? I'm sure you could learn sign language, might even benefit you and your family if everyone learned it, something like that can really bring people together....Good luck and keep us posted! Christina
  11. 0
    Are you receiving LTD through your prevoius employer? The case management folks should be assisting you in finding a new position. The fields of nursing are wide open today. Have you thought about school nursing? How about working with a home health agency. With your trach you will have to be careful about working in environments with too many "bugs". Working in an acute care setting may be taxing on you and set you up for staph, or strep infections that would be devestating to you.I agree that you should have a recourse with litigation of some kind. Was there medical malpractice involved? With the ADA, your previous employer could prove that having you in whatever job you came out of might be "too much of a burden" for them to take you back. Have you talked one-on-one with HR (with an attorney present) about your options? Keep looking for a position because with your background, there is something out there for you. As a nurse for 18 years, I know that there are alot of software programs that I wish would be developed. Maybe this is an arena that you could pursue. There is also a wide open arena for defense of injury cases. Maybe you could become a professional expert of some kind as well. Good luck!! I will keep you in my prayers


Top