Nurse with 30+ years CCU Experience dealing with severe back pain... Need Suggestions

  1. One of my colleagues told me about this site. I am a 55 year old nurse. I have had osteoarthritus for years. It has recently gotten worse and I can no longer work with the pain. I also have severe asthma.

    I currently have an AD RN. I have been a charge nurse in CCU for most of that time. I have been an ACLS instructor for years. Where can I best put my skills to use? Would I be best to get my BSN at this point? Are there any desk jobs? I need suggestions. I have read others suggesting telephone triage and insurance company consulting. Where can I find more specific information?

    I am just so lost right now. I have been in the same job since I finished college when i was in my early 20's. I feel so helpless. I am unsure what I should do right now. What are my options?
    Last edit by ganursing on Sep 24, '07
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   woody62
    Quote from ganursing
    One of my colleagues told me about this site. I am a 55 year old nurse. I have had osteoarthritus for years. It has recently gotten worse and I can no longer work with the pain. I also have severe asthma.

    I currently have an AD RN. I have been a charge nurse in CCU for most of that time. I have been an ACLS instructor for years. Where can I best put my skills to use? Would I be best to get my BSN at this point? Are there any desk jobs? I need suggestions. I have read others suggesting telephone triage and insurance company consulting. Where can I find more specific information?

    I am just so lost right now. I have been in the same job since I finished college when i was in my early 20's. I feel so helpless. I am unsure what I should do right now. What are my options?
    I am a believer in obtaining education. You can try to get a position with an insurance company doing telephone triage or case management. I would suggest considering getting your BSN. Contact the nearest college or university and see how much they are willing to transfer from you associate program. And also check what classes they offer on line. On line classes are an advantage in you can generally take them at anytime of the day or night, as long as you keep up with the assignments and test. Public state universities are best at reducing the cost to you. Also check with your local state Vocational Department. They can assist you in evaluation and financing. You did not say how much longer you can consider working. You should consider applying to SSDI.

    Woody
  4. by   ganursing
    Whats the best way for me to decide whether its better to go ahead and apply for SSDI or continue to try to work? Also how is that affected by savings/retirement?
  5. by   woody62
    Quote from ganursing
    Whats the best way for me to decide whether its better to go ahead and apply for SSDI or continue to try to work? Also how is that affected by savings/retirement?
    It may take you up to twenty-four to thirty-six months getting approved for SSDI. During that time period, you cannot work. If you have long term disability insurance available to you, talk it over with your treating physicians. If they support your application for SSDI, file the application. It is a long and very detailed application. In all likelihood you will be turned down on your initial review and your second one, both of which can take twelve to eighteen months. If you are turned down, you apply for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. As long as you have sufficient documentation supporting your disability you stand a good chance of approval. What you receive, in benefits, is based on the last nine quarters of your work history. In 1988 I received just under $900 a month. And for the previous nine years I had paid both my contribution and that of my employer because I was considered a sub contractor.

    Given your age and the fact that you pocess only an associates (I also have an associates but I also have a BSN and a MS), you likely opportunities are somewhat restricted. I was only forty-two when I applied and it turned out to be a good thing for me. You will continue to received SSDI until age 67 when you will be converted over to regular SS benefits. Two years from the date of your inability to work, you qualify for Medicare, including Part D.

    SSDI has no effect on your retirement benefits or savings. There is no means test to qualify for it or Medicare. So, you do not have to worry about that. If you take early retirement from your employer, what you get from them, also has no effect on your benefits. If you are receiving WC benefits, you do have to caulate your SSDI into your WC but not until you receive it and by then a lot of WC claims are settled.

    Woody
  6. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from ganursing
    One of my colleagues told me about this site. I am a 55 year old nurse. I have had osteoarthritus for years. It has recently gotten worse and I can no longer work with the pain. I also have severe asthma.

    I currently have an AD RN. I have been a charge nurse in CCU for most of that time. I have been an ACLS instructor for years. Where can I best put my skills to use? Would I be best to get my BSN at this point? Are there any desk jobs? I need suggestions. I have read others suggesting telephone triage and insurance company consulting. Where can I find more specific information?

    I am just so lost right now. I have been in the same job since I finished college when i was in my early 20's. I feel so helpless. I am unsure what I should do right now. What are my options?
    I really don't see what benefit a BSN would be at this stage of the game.

    There are tons of jobs for telephonic nursing and insurance companies with an ADN. Post your resume on monster.com and see what happens after about 3 days - you will be swamped. Check careerbuilder.com also.

    I was recently told I need to get out of the ICU too (due to cervical disc herniations and lifting). I sympathize with you. It is hard to leave somewhere you love working
  7. by   ganursing
    I was making 60k a year. At this point would it even be worthwhile for me to try to get a job? How much can be made from these other jobs with my experience? Right now I can claim Long term disability while I'm waiting to file for SSDI.


    Whats my best course of action? Try to work one of these deskjobs? It seems SSDI is based on previous work and if I'm taking a paycut thats going to lower my benefits through SSDI. Is that correct?

    My doctor thinks I should go for SSDI. Again I can not tell you guys how encouraging your support is. This has gotten me so down lately. I really want to thank you for your support during this time.

    Also I'm a little curious about possible suit against the hospital for lack of help causing this injury, but I don't know how viable that would be as I've had a lot of back problems over the years. I'm however convinced that most of it can be contributed to this problem with understaffing. Would this affect my SSDI application?
    Last edit by ganursing on Sep 26, '07
  8. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from ganursing
    I was making 60k a year. At this point would it even be worthwhile for me to try to get a job? How much can be made from these other jobs with my experience? Right now I can claim Long term disability while I'm waiting to file for SSDI.


    Whats my best course of action? Try to work one of these deskjobs? It seems SSDI is based on previous work and if I'm taking a paycut thats going to lower my benefits through SSDI. Is that correct?

    My doctor thinks I should go for SSDI. Again I can not tell you guys how encouraging your support is. This has gotten me so down lately. I really want to thank you for your support during this time.
    I have been down the SSDI road before along with LTD due to an organ
    transplant. I was making very good money (wasn't in nursing then, computer software). Yes, SSDI goes back to quarterly earnings - (and I forget how long back, maybe 10 years? ) and they average things out. I can tell you that my income on SSD was about the same as my take home pay at the time. So, in other words, I was quite comfortable on what money I was getting.

    While I was on SSDI I went to nursing school. Actually- the government even payed for it with a program called "Back to Work". Believe it or not, working as an RN was a paycut for me when I started as an RN! :trout: I wanted to work though, and I did!

    Here is what I would do if I were you. Your doctor supports your decision to go on SSD - that means a lot. Through your job, file your short term disability (if you have it), and then long term disability. Get all your SSD paperwork filled out. I was approved the first time I applied - so don't think you need a lawyer to do this. You can do it. Manage this with the same zeal you would as being a charge nurse - be methodical, precise, complete, exact, provide so much supporting evidence that your packet is about 3 inches thick. Send in the SSD stuff - I believe you can not apply until you are off work for 6 months. In the meantime, LTD can support you. You CAN send the paperwork in early though.

    You can continue to get your LTD at the same time as SSD. SSD will just deduct that amount from your check.

    When you are off of work you might get quite bored. You will be at your leisure to do volunteer work if you feel good enough.

    You can PM me with any questions and I will be happy to answer them. I am currently off work now on workmens comp and have the time. Hopefully, I will go back in about 10 days with some restrictions.
  9. by   glenwood
    Without knowing anything specific about your health let me suggest you see a good pain specialist first. Didn't I notice you live in Georgia? Emory has great doctors.If you could get the pain under control you might be able to keep your current job (I was not sure if you were still employed but thought you might be). The same thing goes for your asthma. Get evaluated by a top flight pulmonologist.

    The other Idea I have is look at your job. Is it physically too demanding? A good charge nurse is really valuable and your employers might be willing to make some accommodations to keep you.

    Education is a long hard struggle and you may not need it to find a good job. Talk to some temp agencies and nursing headhunters about what kind of jobs are out there that you could do. Assess the Job market before you do anything.
    Last edit by glenwood on Sep 26, '07
  10. by   woody62
    Quote from ganursing
    I was making 60k a year. At this point would it even be worthwhile for me to try to get a job? How much can be made from these other jobs with my experience? Right now I can claim Long term disability while I'm waiting to file for SSDI.


    Whats my best course of action? Try to work one of these deskjobs? It seems SSDI is based on previous work and if I'm taking a paycut thats going to lower my benefits through SSDI. Is that correct?

    My doctor thinks I should go for SSDI. Again I can not tell you guys how encouraging your support is. This has gotten me so down lately. I really want to thank you for your support during this time.

    Also I'm a little curious about possible suit against the hospital for lack of help causing this injury, but I don't know how viable that would be as I've had a lot of back problems over the years. I'm however convinced that most of it can be contributed to this problem with understaffing. Would this affect my SSDI application?
    Your SSDI benefit is based on your previous nine quarters. And while your long term disability payment might be calculated into your total amount, it depends on your salary when you filed. The combined benfit can not exceed your previous total salary I believe. I received my total SSDI benefit, without loss, even thought I was receiving WC. My average earned income prior to my filing was approximately $4,000 a month. I received approximately $540 a month from WC and about $900 a month from SSDI.

    If you have been receiving Workers Comp you have given up your right to sue your employer by accepting those benefits. This was the trade off when WC came into existence. Prior to that, the only way you could get anything from your employer, as the result of an on the job injury, was to sue. And not very many suits were successful.

    Woody
  11. by   sharona97
    Woody,

    Do you know of a set amount of time or money you can have/work while on SSDI?

    Sharona


    To the OP: Have you ever considered research nursing or hospice? Just a thought.
  12. by   woody62
    Quote from sharona97
    Woody,

    Do you know of a set amount of time or money you can have/work while on SSDI?

    Sharona


    To the OP: Have you ever considered research nursing or hospice? Just a thought.
    You would have to ask. I believe that if you work a total of ten months, you are considered to be gainfully employed and no longer eligible. And it does not have to be ten months in a row, if I am recalling the rules correctly. The return to work program is a federal program administered by the states to return those who have been disabled for a number of years to return to work. What state's set as help is kind of up to them. NYS would offer much more then Mississippi. The amount of money you can earn has been increased to somewhere around $900 a month to be considered gainfully employed. Considering I get more then $300 more a month, I would be lossing instead of gaining.

    Woody
  13. by   walk6miles
    May I make a suggestion? Before you make any decision, please take the time to visit a website I highly recommend - www.microspine.com.
    I suggered with severe back and leg pain for over a year until I found them. Miracle!! I had to pay a percentage (thanks Blue Cross/BS of Florida) and it was worth every cent.
    I have been working since the surgeries on my back (the left first, 3 months later, the right) - I am completely pain free. I was told by two neurosurgeons that if I didnt let them remove the ruptured disc, I would never be pain free - they wanted to place hardware in my spine....no no no no no.
    Good luck and God bless!
  14. by   sharona97
    Dear Walk6miles,
    Thanks foor the info. My husband had this procedure done for 2 crushed vertrabrae L-4 and L-5. It didn't take for him. I am going to study that micro web site some more and see what's up. It looks as though there technique is a bt more specialized.

    I'm trying to go back to work and he is suffering and still working....lol TY for posting info.

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