New Grad Working Med Surg With Bad Back Against Medical Advice

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    So this med surg position was the only thing I was offered after over a year of trying to get a nursing job. The timing was off because it was just a month after having a microdiscectomy. My doctor initially told me to not consider working there as they have a 50 pound lifting requirement but I went ahead and accepted the job anyway because nobody hires new grads and I finally was given an opportunity. The next appointment I had with the doctor I told him that I planned to get some experience and then move to a part of nursing that wouldn't be so hard on my back, and he supported my plan. I have been there almost 6 months now. I hated med surg in school. The people I work with are all great so I kind of have a love hate relationship with my job now. I don't mind the fast paced days, not being able to get breaks to eat or go to the bathroom, but I have a problem with the lifting and bending. I feel like I am going to damage my back again and need another surgery. Is 6 months enough med/surg experience? Should I try for a year? Should I just hope for the best with my back and continue med surg because it is now what I feel comfortable doing (for the most part). Some days I love it some days I hate it. The days I hate it are usually the days where I feel like I am killing my body lifting and bending.
  2. 10 Comments so far...

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    Nobody here is going to tell you to go against what the doctor said. That said, I'm still nursing on the floor after back surgery. But what else am I going to do? (I'll tell you what else, I'm going to school to get a degree where I'll be required to lift file boxes instead of unpredictable humans.)
    On the other hand, one of the best nurses that I know has been home for over a year, with multiple back surgeries and complications from those surgeries. That was one of the things that finally scared me into realizing, I can't do this until I retire.
    If you're going to continue there, for your safety, use good mechanics, all of the time. And do back and core strengthening exercises prescribed by a physical therapist (rather than by a gym rat that says "core exercises" but means a bunch of crunches.) And keep in mind, no matter how good your body mechanics, you're lifting humans, who are very unpredictable. IMO, "body mechanics" are mostly a scam thought up by a hospital system that didn't want to pay for worker's comp so they figured out they could blame nurses for hurting their backs by not using "good body mechanics."
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    I try to have good body mechanics but there is no way of truly knowing which little movement is going to cause another herniated disc to impinge on my nerves once again. The other day I simply picked up a mans cane off the floor and my back was miserable for a week almost to the point where I felt I might need a new MRI. It resolved it self, but I know one time it wont resolve itself. I don't really know where to go now or what to do. I was telling my doctor that I was really interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner because I have a bachelors degree in psyc too and the Doctor said that would be best. Everyone says that you need so much prior experience to be any kind of a good nurse practitioner.
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    I worked as a CNA for a long time and that's probably a big part of where the problems are coming from. A lot of times on my floor they will have the CNAs stay home and the RNs do all cares. I don't mind doing that stuff but it is very hard on my back. Im only 25 now and I have already had one back surgery .. I feel like im setting myself up for a life time of back surgeries if I stay in this field. Makes me sad that I worked so hard for something that is killing my body.
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    It never hurts to try to move on to another unit with 6 months of med/surg. You might find a job that requires little to no lifting like psych.
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    If you want to be a psych NP, start applying for jobs as a psych RN. Maybe they'll take you with 6 months of experience or maybe they won't but it can't hurt to try. Once you've switched, you won't have to rush into a psych NP program, you can get some experience as a psych RN first.

    Good luck!
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    A lot of places will accept 6 months of med-surg experience. Good luck!
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    here is something else to consider - if you get hurt while working and try to claim worker's comp but the company finds out you have been working AMA, they may not pay your expenses. I recommend looking for another position, maybe elsewhere in the same facility. Talk to HR. They may have a "light duty" experience for a while in order to keep you
    kids and wooh like this.
  10. 1
    You could consider the NICU....I hear they don't weigh much!
    miswend78 likes this.
  11. 1
    Quote from wooh
    Nobody here is going to tell you to go against what the doctor said. That said, I'm still nursing on the floor after back surgery. But what else am I going to do? (I'll tell you what else, I'm going to school to get a degree where I'll be required to lift file boxes instead of unpredictable humans.)
    On the other hand, one of the best nurses that I know has been home for over a year, with multiple back surgeries and complications from those surgeries. That was one of the things that finally scared me into realizing, I can't do this until I retire.
    If you're going to continue there, for your safety, use good mechanics, all of the time. And do back and core strengthening exercises prescribed by a physical therapist (rather than by a gym rat that says "core exercises" but means a bunch of crunches.) And keep in mind, no matter how good your body mechanics, you're lifting humans, who are very unpredictable. IMO, "body mechanics" are mostly a scam thought up by a hospital system that didn't want to pay for worker's comp so they figured out they could blame nurses for hurting their backs by not using "good body mechanics."
    Just curious as to what degree you're going for that requires lifting boxes.
    miswend78 likes this.


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