Injured Nurses on Compensation

  1. Hi I am new here and am curious to know if any other nurses have had a work related injury which has caused them a permanent impairment. I have been on Worker's Comp for 3 years and have been harassed by the compensation board, lmr providers to no end. It really sickens me to think because we are healthcare providers and high wage earners that we have to take this type of abuse. I am sure that I am not the only person who has been denied appropriate accomodation by an employer and been forced to have to look for new career options. If you are out there and suffering from the paper trail that seems to lead to nowhere except frustration, I would love to hear from you.

    Linda
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   R.M. RN
    Hi Linda,
    I am very new to the discussion board "thing". I am a 30 year old RN. I have been on workers comp for close to a year after hurting my back and subsequently having back surgery a few months ago. I imagine I am just starting to go through what you have already been through with workers comp in the last 3 years. I just received the standard permanent impairment letter last week!! I am hoping to return to some type of nursing but it is becoming clear that I will not be going back to what I was doing before. I have never experienced a more frustrating time in my life and only wish that I could simply get up and go to work as I did before my injury! Between workers comp. my employer, my physiotherapist and my surgeon my head is reeling with all the different things I have been told!! Anyways I don't mean to go on and on but it is nice to know that there are others out there that are equally frustrated by the system!! Keep in Touch and Take Care
    Last edit by R.M. RN on Sep 17, '01
  4. by   2kewl
    Hi and thanks for replying I thought I was the only one who got hurt on the job. Hopefully things go more smoothly for you have they mentioned retraining you or is your employer willing to accomodate your limitations. I hope the employer will make every effort to help find you something suitable where you are. I can relate to the feelings of you just want to get back into it. My fear now is that it has been so long that I have been off what will my skills be like. Mind you I will probably not have much use for my active nursing skills in a sedentary role, ie. injections, iv's, drainage tubes etc. so I guess I am probably worrying for nothing.
    Hope to talk to you again soon!
    and good luck I will keep you in my prayers
  5. by   R.M. RN
    hi Linda,

    I can really relate to the fear of losing your nursing skills the longer you are off!! I have major anxiety about returning to work because I Know that whatever I will be doing, it will be completely different from the type of nursing that I have done in the past. I have considered starting the masters program at athabasca univ. but financially we can't afford it right now!!! It sounds (from your first post) that your employer and workers comp didn't work too well together in trying to find you some sort of modified employment. My understanding of workers comp was that they could also retrain you, but I'm not exactly sure of your situation and if that would be applicable. So far my employer seems to be willing to cooperate...It would be nice to hear from other RN's who have been through this situation and successfully got back to some type of work!! Anyways just wanted to let you know that I can relate to all of your fears!! take care
  6. by   2kewl
    Hi RM
    Thanks for your reply once again. Presently I am waiting for compensation to decide my fate. I would imagine since there is no further therapy planned and no employer to go back to, that retraining will be the next option.
    We will just have to wait and see what they come up with. Hopefully they will make a decision which is compatible to the permanent impairments and my interests. We will have to wait and see.
    ttfn
  7. by   deehaverrn
    It's disappointed that there isn't more information here, although I'll keep looking. I have been injured for almost two years, although I have mostly been working throughout that time (except when the pain is unbearable). I am presently half days (4 hours) but even that is torture. They say that I am on "light duty" but all that means is that they tell me to "call and ask for help". Oh, and they don't put me in a labor room or in the OR or PACU on our OB unit. They do put me in some very unsafe situations though. I am in pain from before I arrive and can barely walk out. I have been taken to court by the Worker's compensation insurance company and my hospital. I won, but my lawyer says they can send me for another medical exam and go right back to court. I guess they can find a doctor who will take their side somewhere. This is despite an MRI showing bulging discs and an annular tear as well as degenerative changes in my lumbar spine. They are not fighting that I injured myself at work, especially since that was witnessed by another RN (and pt) and I needed to be wheeled down to the ECU. My coworkers can't believe they are making me work though the amount of pain that I am having. I am losing hope at this point of any semblance of happiness in life. Honestly, if it were not for a wonderful husband and two great kids, I'd give up for sure. Any advice out there? I've all ready had physical therapy, drugs (the steroids caused me to gain weight which I still haven't lost), epidural steroids, a facet block, and facet joint ablation. The next step is an IDET procedure but I have read that that only has a 50% success rate. :uhoh21:
  8. by   Lexiesmom
    I am so glad to see all your posts! I too am an ICU RN, hurt at work and going to rehab after back surgery. I just want my life back!! this kind of injury is devastating to our nursing careers and our personal lives!
    I most recently had the radio frequency rhisotomy, which has helped tremendously with the pain. However, no one knows how long it will last!! Scary!!

    Hang in there all of you!!! I miss my career!!

    Lexiesmom, RN
  9. by   BillyGoatBlues
    Canadian Nurses,

    The do you have any laws there in Canada similar to the U.S's "American's With Disabilities" Act (ADA laws) that place the employer at responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations?
  10. by   dishes
    Yes, employers in Canada have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations. It can be difficult for employers to provide accommodation for injured nurses because most nurses are in unions and most desk jobs or nonphysical jobs are non-union.
    dishes
  11. by   Fiona59
    Dishes: where in Canada do you work?

    I work with several nurses who have returned to the workplace with permanent injuries. They usually wind up in Public Health, Diabetes Education Programmes, some areas of Mental Health, and a I've heard of a few in Wound Clinics. Anywhere, heavy lifting is usually not a part of the job. These jobs are union positions.

    I know for a fact that in my workplace there are a couple of specialty units who have more "injured" nurses than fully fit due to the type of care involved.
  12. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    My unit has more than its share of nurses with permanent weight restrictions. It creates a huge problem for those of us who don't have one... we'll be the ones assigned to the 120 kg teenagers with spinal cord injuries, the Hercules-strong head injured and combative kids and the overfed CPers who aren't able to reposition themselves. And we have a few who can't go into isolation rooms. The employer has a duty to accommodate, but why do these people not go to neonatal where there will never be an issue for them?
  13. by   nurseogden
    Be thankful you have respectable facilities that recognized your injury related to work. When I ruptured a disk in my lower back.pulling on a 400lb woman...my facility hem hawed around so long with physical therapy while making me continue to work that I finally had to go to an orthopod who ordered the MRI and did surgery the next day...which I had to pay for myself!!!
    On top of that as a 32 year veteran nurse, I now have MS and need some accomodations and am losing my job because of the fine print in the ADA that says they only have to provide you continued employment if it is not a hardship to the facility!!!
    So now, I am unemployed with no income and unable to find another job. We nurses eat our young and kill off our old!!!
  14. by   Fiona59
    Nurse Ogden:

    Where in Canada do you work? Your union and your Occupational Health Office should be doing the groundwork for you!

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Injured Nurses on Compensation