Jump to content

Can I be denied employment due to claustrophobia???

Posted

I applied to the local VA and was offered a job as a Graduate Nurse. Monday I went for my physical, completed a questionnaire stating that I was unable to be fitted with the N95 (TB mask) because I'm claustrophobic.

The occupational health doctor had a fit over the fact that I'm claustrophobic and I'm going to work in a Ortho unit. She basically didn't want to complete my physical. She was expecting me to decline the position. I have called the unit manager several times and she has still not returned my call.

I have declined other job offers for this job. Is there anything I can do? Has anyone had a problem like this before?

ANY WORDS OF WISDOM!!!!

ukstudent

Specializes in SICU.

Part of most hospital physicals is a fit test for TB masks. If you are going to be working in an area that could expose you to TB, and as a nurse you will be, you need to be protected. This is an OSHA requirement.

This problem is likely to occur again at any job offer. Have you thought about desenitivation (sp) treatment. Is the problem with wearing the mask itself or with the hood that then gets placed over your head to test the fit? If it is the hood only then maybe they can test it in another way? But I have only seen the hood used.

Quickbeam, BSN, RN

Specializes in Government.

I did fit testing for many years and most people can overcome the claustrophobia. What helped many was the thought that this thing could save your life. The masks also aren't worn all that often.

If you absolutely can't tolerate a mask, there are a lot of nursing roles you won't qualify for. It really wouldn't be an ADA thing either as for all jobs, you need to be able to do the essential functions of the position.

I agree with the poster upthread about desensitization. Please look into it. Otherwise you may find limited choices or be forced to work in an area of nursing other than patient care. Best wishes to you!

Well, I just received a call back from the Manager and she said they have only had two cases of TB in the past 5 years. She said that I still have the job and she will work with me.:lol2:

I'm HAPPY!!! THANKS FOR ALL THE RESPONSES!!!!

Well, I just received a call back from the Manager and she said they have only had two cases of TB in the past 5 years. She said that I still have the job and she will work with me.:lol2:

I'm HAPPY!!! THANKS FOR ALL THE RESPONSES!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Boy, sometimes it's fabulous to be utterly wrong.

:D

ukstudent

Specializes in SICU.

Congratulations in getting the job. Please stay safe if you have any patients with TB on your floor.

GingerSue

Has 20 years experience.

Well, I just received a call back from the Manager and she said they have only had two cases of TB in the past 5 years. She said that I still have the job and she will work with me.:lol2:

I'm HAPPY!!! THANKS FOR ALL THE RESPONSES!!!!

that's great news!

all the best with your new job

the same as above!

Please explore sytemaqtic desensitization. Reducing your anxiety levels will improve your QOL both at work and home....

Congrats on the new job!

best of everything on your new job!:balloons::balloons::balloons:

leslie

GeminiTwinRN, BSN

Specializes in ICU/PCU/Infusion. Has 14 years experience.

Congrats on your new position!! :)

In my previous hospital, they did the fit testing with the hood, etc. I was unable to be fitted for either of the masks. The unit I worked on decided it was okay to continue my employment.

Fast forward to the hospital where I work now. They don't even do fit testing. Their reasoning? They said that as employees of the facility, we could be exposed to TB even before TB is diagnosed. So wearing the masks, while helping with KNOWN TB pts. is good, we could be exposed even more easily with pts who have not yet been diagnosed. Make sense? Not totally, to me, but what did make sense was that I could not have taken the position if I insisted that I would not be able to take TB pts. They could not guarantee staffing, etc, to make that possible. So I just signed off on all the questionairres and forms and went about my new position.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I, too, am HORRIBLY claustrophobic. I don't have that much of a problem with the TB masks, it was the fit-testing that gave me the heebie-jeebies and caused a lot of anxiety for me when I worked in a hospital. Luckily, our infection control nurse figured out a way to do it without using the hood---he just had me don different sizes of N95 masks and did the spray thing. And Voila!......fit testing accomplished, and no Ativan required! ;)

That is exactly what happened to me the hood thing made me very anxious and I couldn't continue with the fit test. I'm going to try to get over this.

Thanks,

CVICURN2003

Specializes in CVICU, MICU, CCRN-CSC. Has 9 years experience.

I, too, am HORRIBLY claustrophobic. I don't have that much of a problem with the TB masks, it was the fit-testing that gave me the heebie-jeebies and caused a lot of anxiety for me when I worked in a hospital. Luckily, our infection control nurse figured out a way to do it without using the hood---he just had me don different sizes of N95 masks and did the spray thing. And Voila!......fit testing accomplished, and no Ativan required! ;)

Me too...like, don't put your hand near my face or you will lose your hand claustraphobic....and I did the mask with the aeresol. (No hood) and it was not really that big of a deal. For some reason, just the mask does not bother me or the isolation gear....but I almost cannot tolerate closed curtains and closed rooms and it all of it together. I have to really talk myself through the day when I have a reverse isolation patient. And I ma the queen of fast baths ( I have to close the curtains and windows) so weird I know...but I do sympathize with you. You can work though it, I do every day.:lol2::lol2:

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.