Ok....don't flame me ....questions for ya...

  1. Hey all,
    Ok...so I interviewed for this telephone triage job yesterday and I'm really, really excited!!! It's at the same facility...just clinic versus hospital med/surg. Anyways....while I'm excited...I'm also kind of nervous. I just love my current nurse manager...she is so kind and good to me! I have endometriosis and my "cramps" (sorry for the TMI) are just horrible. Currently..I am taking vacation days and/or requesting off days during my period...which my NM is very supportive of...she says it's better than calling in sick. Anyways...I'm not so sure my new NM (if I get the job) would be this flexible. I'm hoping I will just be able to work during my time of cramps because face it...it's not nearly as physical as med/surg. I'm wondering though...since I'm not dealing in direct patient care.....would taking a Vicodin if I absolutely needed to...be permissable?? I would never do that while working on med/surg....but could I in tele triage?? I only take one when I absolutely cannot stand the pain....I've been taking them on a very prn basis for a few years now..so I know how they affect me. I don't get "wacked out" on them....if anything..my husband says I just talk more...which would be good in tele triage right...lol.
    Now..I'm not saying that I would definately take one at this point....I'm just curious of what you guys thought?? I really want this job and if I get it....I don't want to be missing a lot of work right away..u know? I don't really want to mention the endometriosis for awhile either..(again..if I get the job)...or do you think it would be better to bring up the fact that I have it and do have a lot of chronic pain because of it??? I just don't want her to reget hiring me or anything...u know? Endometriosis stinks!!! Any advice, help,etc would be appreciated....thanks so much..
    luv,
    snoop'
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   RainbowSkye
    I worked telephone triage for several years and although it's not as difficult physically, it is a job which requires a lot of concentration and communication. It's like trying to do ER triage with no vital signs and your eyes closed. Dont' be fooled into thinking this is an easy job.

    I know that opiates affect everyone differently, but...I'm personally not sure an RN should use these meds in any position in a hospital. Okay, I know about devastating pain can be, but I still wouldn't want my surgeon to operate on me on Vicodin, or my airline pilot to be on Lorcet, or the police officer who protects me to be taking Vicoprofen - I think it really can slow response time).

    I don't know anything about your medical history, but have you checked out any alternative or nutritional approaches to endometriosis? Susan Lark and Christiane Northrup both have books which discuss the topic.

    Good luck.
  4. by   luanne123
    Best of luck to you. I personally would not take pain meds before telephone triage.
    Luanne
  5. by   matchstickxx
    In the event of a lawsuit I am not sure you could defend any decision you made or advice you gave while "under the influence" of Vicodin. The fact that you were taking a narcotic could come out in a court of law and while you may feel as though it doesn't affect your job, the average juror may not be able to get beyond the fact that you were "on narcotic drugs" while providing medical/nursing advice.
    I do not intend for this post to be any sort of flame...only something to think about when you make your decision.
  6. by   KatieBell
    As far as taking the vicoden while at work- I would think that would be a no, for all the reasons mentioned above.

    As far as not mentioning your endometriosis. Since it is a job at the same facility, it's likely that managers talk to each other. It's possible that informally, your potential new manager is already aware. (yes, it would be wrong of your present manager to do this, but it happens frequently.) It sounds as if you are being really responsible about not having unscheduled abscences, but if you have had a lot of call ins, that will also be evident to the potential NM.

    Whatever happens, I hope it works out well for you.
  7. by   Thunderwolf
    Simple reminder...this is NOT a medical advice board--->taking Vicodin on the job or not is not for us to say. This discussion needs to be between you and your prescribing physician. What is more in kin to this board is getting ideas from others how to function in this new job with your particular condition or how they have functioned in your similar type of condition. Prescribed medication, "should I take it or not", is against TOS.
    Sorry.
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 21, '05
  8. by   prmenrs
    I'd like to suggest another visit to your friendly neighborhood gyn for better pain control ideas.

    I'm 15 years post-hys, and all any other woman has to do is look at me, and I'll break out the Motrin, I've even heated IV bags for their tummies, gotten them tea, done a few vitals/diaper/feedings for them. OUCH. Not good memories.
  9. by   rach_nc_03
    I also suffer from endometriosis, and I've had 2 surgeries for it in the past year. I absolutely (literally) feel your pain.

    When i was working as a nursing assistant, i occasionally took vicodin when the pain was so bad I couldn't function- and I mean there were times i had to pull my car over and curl up in the back in a fetal position to avoid having a wreck! My manager knew about it and was totally fine with it- especially after I offered to go home sick on the days when the pain was bad if she *didn't* want me taking narcotics.

    Now that I'm an RN, i no longer take the meds at work- and, luckily, my last surgery seemed to do the trick. People who haven't had endo rarely understand the pain involved, especially if you have adhesions sticking your organs in all the wrong places, like i did. I got comments like, 'have you tried advil?' Umm....yeah. I didn't *think* of trying something OTC. Of course I did!! Sometimes had to take a gram of it 3 x per day just to get out of bed. I would recommend joining a support group, live or online, if possible. Most issues of chronic pain are poorly understood by people who haven't experienced it- especially when the condition isn't visible to others. it helps to have relationships with people who *do* get it.

    As for work, I would first check into whether your hospital has intermittent medical leave available. Call HR- my old manager didn't know about it and didn't offer it. I wouldn't be taking vacation days if possible. Check to see if there's any way you can get something like this taken care of with hospital policy on sick time- and check before you talk to your new manager about it.

    Good luck- PM me if you ever need to talk to someone who understands!
  10. by   Emma123
    How do you feel about having a new forum here for nurses working in chronic pain? Mods? Members? I know that would be of great support, to share ideas on coping, body mechanic tips, etc.

    Would this be possible at some point?
  11. by   Q.
    My personal opinion, if you are taking vicodin for pain, you are not "doped up" or less responsive as people seem to think.

    But I agree - try talking to your doc to determine some better pain control options. And I also used to work telephone triage, it is easier than floor nursing in alot of regards, and face it, we'll all human and there are many nurses who are working who (god forbid!) have health issues that compell them to take medications.
  12. by   sharann
    I just wonder which nurse would give the best advice: The nurse in horrible gut wrenching pain, or the one comfortable with her/his pain controlled by a prescribed med?
    I also think you must see the gyn for more help. Perhaps a surgery or new med could get you more functional. I totally understand the agony of severe cramps and feel for you.
  13. by   Annor
    i have endometriosis too.....the worse of pain!

    i will take vicodin es...but not when i am working....i will take 4 tablets of advil....every 4-6 hours...i know it is alot of advil....but what can you do when you are double over in pain and have to get to work??

    annor





    Quote from rach_nc_03
    i also suffer from endometriosis, and i've had 2 surgeries for it in the past year. i absolutely (literally) feel your pain.

    when i was working as a nursing assistant, i occasionally took vicodin when the pain was so bad i couldn't function- and i mean there were times i had to pull my car over and curl up in the back in a fetal position to avoid having a wreck! my manager knew about it and was totally fine with it- especially after i offered to go home sick on the days when the pain was bad if she *didn't* want me taking narcotics.

    now that i'm an rn, i no longer take the meds at work- and, luckily, my last surgery seemed to do the trick. people who haven't had endo rarely understand the pain involved, especially if you have adhesions sticking your organs in all the wrong places, like i did. i got comments like, 'have you tried advil?' umm....yeah. i didn't *think* of trying something otc. of course i did!! sometimes had to take a gram of it 3 x per day just to get out of bed. i would recommend joining a support group, live or online, if possible. most issues of chronic pain are poorly understood by people who haven't experienced it- especially when the condition isn't visible to others. it helps to have relationships with people who *do* get it.

    as for work, i would first check into whether your hospital has intermittent medical leave available. call hr- my old manager didn't know about it and didn't offer it. i wouldn't be taking vacation days if possible. check to see if there's any way you can get something like this taken care of with hospital policy on sick time- and check before you talk to your new manager about it.

    good luck- pm me if you ever need to talk to someone who understands!
  14. by   Antikigirl
    I have adhesions from a c-section...if I move the wrong way I torque my insides and start bleeding, and blood in the abdomen/pelvis that isn't suppose to be there...well as you know with your condition...causes 10/10 searing pain!

    I found...and I would ask you MD about Toridol! I couldn't believe a non narcotic could work so darned well! Best if done IM injection (which my MD allows me cause lets face it..I am RN and he knows it..LOL!) and I go from 10/10 on the floor rolling and trying not to scream pain when it happens...to okay in 15 minutes!!!!!! (well still feels like someone kicked me in the gut...but that I can handle!).

    A smart ER doc...after three years of going to the ER for this finally put me on it...it worked so well. Nice anti-inflamatory that takes care of the REASON behind the pain vs just masking the pain with narcs! Heck, after 15 minutes I can even work (slowly but can).

    Why don't you ask your PCP about it...I am so glad I did!!!!!!!!!!! (and I have friends with endometreosis that tried it and finally FINALLY found relief!).

    Good luck, hope this suggestion helps you find an alternate solution to narcs!

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