I just started a new job and have pneumonia. Very worried...

  1. I started at a wound care clinic as a Hyperbaric Tech/Wound Nurse on November 7th. Last Thursday (12/20) I became very ill and went to the ER. ER doc did a chest X-ray and said she "saw something" in the right lower lobe of my lungs. Said it was Bronchitis, got two shots, a Rx for antibiotics and an excuse to take the next day off. We were off 12/24 and 12/25. I woke up feeling worse on 12/26 but went in anyway. All day I saw patients and did wound care while I dripped sweat, having to leave the exam room a few times to sit down because I felt very dizzy and was hacking up a lung and other nasty gunk I won't describe.

    Yesterday morning (12/27) I was so weak, short of breath and dizzy I could barely make it from one room to another without gasping for air. Called the Nurse Manager and told her I would be in but would probably be a bit late. She called the Director, called me back and said they could make it without me and to go back to the doctor.

    Went to the doctor, had a chest X-Ray and now have pneumonia in both lower lobes. Doctor wrote a statement saying I have Pneumonia and am not to return to work for two weeks. In the meantime I will be doing repsiratory treatments at home provided by a home health agency.
    I informed the Nurse Manager that I will be going for a follow up appt. next week to see if I can be cleared to go back to work before the two weeks is up. She stated "Just keep me posted. We will work something out."

    Here's the thing. The clinic is very small with me and two full time wound care nurses on staff. Since I am out sick, the Nurse Manager has to run the hyperbaric chamber, so that leaves one nurse to see all the patients for the first half of the day, which can be overwhelming, then the Nurse Manager can step in the second half of the day and do wound care. In my opinion, they are not adequately staffed, but who am I to determine that?

    With all that said, and since I have been there less than 2 months, would they have a legitimate reason to terminate me, even with a statement from the doctor? Please understand that I realize they need to be adequately staffed to provide proper care, but all of our patients have open, oozing wounds, and more than 90% of them are diabetic with other co-morbidities which would weaken the immune system, but like I said, I have been there less than 2 months and am already having to take so many sick days.

    Part of me says if they fire me for being legitimately sick they're not worth working for anyway, but another part says they have a business to run, and while I have worked hard and proven myself competent while I've been there, what can I say if they do let me go? It's just business as usual. Nothing personal.
    Last edit by LTCNS on Dec 28, '12
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    About LTCNS, LPN

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 637; Likes: 937


  3. by   werlp
    I believe legally they can terminate you as family medical leave does not start until you have been there a year. I think it is unlikely though if you are gone only 2 weeks. Or would probably take them longer to train your replacement. Hope you feel better!
  4. by   LTCNS
    Thanks Lisa. The other nurse is leaving next week for a new job and although I've *heard* they've hired a replacement who knows the clinic since she works there PRN, I don't know for sure that they have. That will still leave only 2 nurses until I get back. I feel so bad about leaving them short staffed, but there's nothing I can do right now. I can't return until the doctor clears me.
    I wish they would hire a couple more PRN nurses then this wouldn't be a problem. We're supposed to get 19 PTO days per year but it's darn near impossible to take them since they are running bare bones staff. The Nurse Manager has had to scramble to take her days or lose them.
  5. by   nuangel1
    they could terminate you .but that doesn't mean they will.knowing you really are sick and ts 2 weeks they maybe understanding and work with you.there is not much you can do.you need the time to heal and get better.goodluck and takecare .

    ps i undesrtand i am an ed nurse i just had pneumonia.i am asthmatic and was hospitalized very sick for 6 days .then took a leave for 10 days once d/c per dr orders.my job was not happy either we just went thru layoffs and are bare bone staffed right now .plus this is my second LOA this year .i had loa for 8 weeks in march after surgery.i just went back to work on XMAS day.been there with the pneumonia it is tough.feel better.
  6. by   LTCNS
    nuangle1, sounds like you was very ill. This is a tough time of year. I'm glad you're feeling better.

    The doctor wanted to admit me to a hospital, but also gave me the choice of doing nebulizer tx at home and go from there. If it works, great, if not, then I will be admitted to a hospital. I'll know next week if I'm making progress. I just need to be able to get back to work. This is very frustrating.
  7. by   netglow
    Don't mess with it LTCNS. Pneumo esp if both lowers is something that you need to bow to. Be a good girl and do what you're supposed to or you'll not get over it, still might take months kiddo, till you feel over it completely.
  8. by   LTCNS
    Quote from netglow
    Don't mess with it LTCNS. Pneumo esp if both lowers is something that you need to bow to. Be a good girl and do what you're supposed to or you'll not get over it, still might take months kiddo, till you feel over it completely.
    It has definitely brought me to my knees. I haven't been this sick in years. It's tasking just to walk a few feet to the bathroom.
  9. by   netglow
    Well be good and do your breathing/coughing like they tell you to do! And don't fuss. If you worsen let them admit you.
  10. by   nuangel1
    i agree with netglow ,LTCNS,you need to rest,and do everything your dr tells you to do.takecare or it will get worse.in my situation ,in hindsight, i should have gone to er couple days sooner but i was stubborn and was using my inhalers and nebs and thought i could handle it and it would go away .i thought it was just the asthma.i have lived with asthma for 15 years plus.i never dreamed i had pneumonia when the ed dr told me that i was very surprised.but i had been exhuasted for week ,fevers ,what i thought were cold sx ,cough and then the wheezing and doe started .i would wheeze going up my stairs .but what finally did make me go to ed was i became bronchospatic and respiratory distress.so at that point the decision was made for me.its only been 3 weeks. yes i am back to work but i find i still have less energy and tire more easily.i don't sleep as well .i feel like i am still healing.i was on a prolonged tx even after d/c .he had bme on 10 days po levaquin and prednisone.so please takecare.let us know how you make out .
  11. by   BlueDevil,DNP
    They can, but unless they don't like you, I don't see why they would. By the time they post, interview, screen, select, background check, wait for the new candidate to give notice at his/her present job, etc, you will have been back for weeks already, lol. That's to say nothing of training the new hire. No, the only reason to fire you is is really only as a pretense because there are other issues. If it is a good fit and all else is going well, as you obviously have a legitimate illness I'd say you will be fine.

    IME attendance is more of an issue and speaks more to the character of the individual when people call in for one day at a time here and there, you know the type- they usually call in "sick" at least once every other month. A single serious illness that keeps you out for an extended period in an otherwise exemplary attendance record is a non issue. Get well soon.
  12. by   nurseprnRN
    I agree c BlueDevil.

    If the nurse manager says, "We can work it out," then take her at her word. Take care of yourself.
  13. by   LTCNS
    I'm not as worried as I was, but still have that little bit of fear in the back of my mind. Just taking it a day at a time. Worry never changes anything.
  14. by   netglow
    Quote from LTCNS
    Worry never changes anything.
    You know what? That is the best saying of all time!