ER RN and Pregnant

  1. I hope there is someone in my situation or know someone who has or anyone who has any info regarding this.
    I'm an ER RN with less than a year background, where I knew it wasn't for me at the time. Now, I love it at the ER! I've been there for almost three months and in two weeks, I'll be off preceptorship.
    Well anyways, this is my first pregnancy, now six weeks. I'm just stuck right now about this: I was told to prevent lifting, decreasing stress, and not to care for pts who have chickenpox. --You know, some charge RN's don't know either about what pt's I should stay away from! In regards to Cancer pts: when having radiation the day of admission to the ER, I can't care for -----but gosh, how can you tell or get that info when you know it's kind of difficult to get that info- like for example, the pt is confused or the pt can't answer or when the family doesn't quite know. And another example, when I had a pt with decreased LOC for a couple of days, and then with me most of the day, he was totally with it neuro wise and towards the end of my shift, he was suspected maybe to have meningitis--which made me freak out for my baby growing. Then luckily later, it was most likely a subdural hematoma. I really do not want to make this too long to read for now. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say and ask. So I guess the main question is what things should be aware of or stay away from other than what I've said above, please correct me if I'm wrong too. -Thanks in advance.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   rjflyn
    First off congrats.

    As far as the restrictions you have mentioned you dont say if those imposed by you physican or other wise. If so your next trip should be to speak with you facilities occupational health nurse. Between her and yourself you should be able to come up with an appropriate plan to manage your pregnancy and how it pertains to your job duties.

    Couriously though, have you not had chicken pox or never been vaccinated for it?

    Rj
  4. by   TazziRN
    Congrats on your impending bundle of joy!!

    I was 16.5 weeks along before I found out I was pregnant (don't ask, I'm embarrassed about that one!). The day after I found out I roomed a kid with suspected measles. My tech just stared at me and said "What are you thinking???" I needed to be thinking about my safety before anyone else. In other words, when about to be given a pt with a specific problem, you need to say "I don't think I should take this pt." If you don't go overboard and refuse them all you will be fine. As for chicken pox, have you had them? If yes you will probably protect your baby. Meningitis: the winter I was pregnant we had an epidemic in our county and I was exposed at least 4 times to confirmed cases. Instead of Cipro/Levaquin like everyone else, I got IV Rocephin for prophylaxis. It got to where if I heard I'd been exposed again I just held out my arm for the IV. The last time I literally had a line in my arm and was sitting at the desk doing computer entry while the med infused.

    Lifting: you should not be doing heavy lifting anyway, even if you're healthy. No one should be lifting without help.

    Talk with your charge nurse and let her know that you will need to occasionally refuse pts because of their suspected diagnosis. You may be surprised at the amount of support you get.
  5. by   EDValerieRN
    I'm six weeks along and in the ER as well. I do it all, I just try to stay away from rashes, because I've never had the chicken pox and I'm not able to have the vaccine.

    I may overdo it a little because I worked with a few pregnant women who were just plain lazy in the past, and that doesn't fly with me. Pregnancy is not an illness... and these women acted paralyzed.

    I was exposed to meningitis the same day I found out I was preggo, and I just got some rocephin. Just be smart, wash your hands, and wear lead around the x-rays.
  6. by   rjflyn
    About chicken pox an adult never having had them and the fact we are vaccinating our children for them kind of scares me. We have alot of young nurses that have never seen it. On top of that we still dont know how long the vaccine will last.

    Avoiding pts with rashes is a good idea, although at my facility in the ER light duty is triage. Which means you see every patient. My point being you need to talk with both management and occupational health.

    RJ
  7. by   Spacklehead
    If it helps to make you feel better, I carried two pregnancies all the way to labor while working 12 hour shifts in the ER. Like others stated, don't do any heavy lifting or (in my personal experience) provide counter traction for dislocated shoulders! Other than that, I really didn't worry too much - but I was told by my manager not to care for patients who had shingles, MRSA, VRE, etc., although I'm sure I probably did have MRSA patients and probably didn't know it at the time they initially came to the ER. I just made sure to follow the proper infectious precautions (contact, universal, etc.) when caring for patients who were possibly infected.

    Best wishes to you - I hope you have a smooth pregnancy!
    Last edit by Spacklehead on Nov 25, '06 : Reason: ETA: Just make sure you check with your OB about what you should and should not be doing while at work.
  8. by   Spacklehead
    Just wanted to add (in case you didn't see it in my edit) to make sure you check with your OB regarding what you should and should not be doing at work.
  9. by   kukukajoo
    Is there any way the hospital can incorporate a fe extra questions for the basic assessment done in triage?? This would certainly help you protect your baby and I would think a good employer would be more than willing to do this- I know I would without question.
  10. by   mom23RN
    I carried two full-term pregnancies while working in the ER. Never had any restrictions except for those who worked with me saying "you're not supposed to be lifting that" and such.

    As for the chicken pox you can get a titer to see if you're immune. If you are they I'm sure the fear wouldn't be there. As for other restrictions, has your OB put you on those? If so then you'll most likely have to have some sort of paperwork about what you can and cannot do. If not, I would assume you'll be asked to do most of your normal duties.

    Congratulations! PM me if you have any specific questions maybe I can answer.
  11. by   AfloydRN
    I was pregnant when I was in ER- it was hard. Noone else seemed to care about me pulling 450 plus pounds over onto carts all day long. Unfortunately I did not have a compassionate team. I was taken off work at 6 months along d/t sciatic pain. It was awful. Do be careful about your lifting and infectious patients. It is not worth risking your health or the baby's.

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