Quote from Ilovethe80s
Just wondering if anyone's OR unit has specific guidelines for work hours for pregnant nurses. I am currently 28 weeks pregnant and work full-time in the OR. I am required to take mandatory late days, which lasts as long as they need you there (one of my last late shifts was 16 hrs long), and 24 hr call. I'm not trying to sound like a cry baby, but we all know a busy OR is physically demanding. My back, feet and hips hurt so bad and after a 16 hr day or 24 hrs on call, the last thing I want to do is go home, catch a few hrs of sleep and do it all over again the next day. Between the mandatory late days and call, it usually totals up to 8 or 9 days a month.
Yup, these responses are pretty typical of what I have seen in nursing. I come from outside the healthcare industry and I have been pretty appalled by how it deals with pregnant workers, especially considering the previous and continuing prevalence of females as nurses. The OR is a physical and high stress environment, with quite a few dangers to a growing baby. The data shows that more needle sticks and exposure happens to OR workers than other healthcare workers. Radiation exposure is not monitored nearly well enough, with wrap around lead rare in some facilities because "it's expensive". Bone cement is a known danger and I am glad my facility doesn't require pregnant workers to be exposed to it. AORN standards are primarily for standing surgeries, sitting is basically frowned upon unless absolutely necessary, such as eyes. Standing all day is tough on anybody much less a pregnant body.
Even the maternity leave is appalling. I was able to take up to six months post partum, as that is industry standard in my other industry. The last three month are unpaid, but at least they're available if you want them. It allows for the best case breast feeding advocated by "health experts". Unless you're a nurse, of course and need to pump every two hours. Good luck getting that from your unit. I remember a nurse that returned to work after having a baby and the breaker came in to do breaks for us. The breaker asked me to go first because, gesturing at the other nurse, "she takes too long". I asked why and she made a face and said "she's pumping". I fixed my eyes on her and said, "let her go first, she can have my time".
Nurses need to start taking care of eachother. The brutal atmosphere so often prevalent in healthcare needs to change. As it stands nurses are still predominantly female. Females get pregnant. Recognizing this and adapting for it is just common sense.
Finally, be advised that depending on your job, if you are physically unable to do YOUR job, you probably qualify for unemployment, unless your facilty makes another position for you.