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Can't do CPR-is my career over?

Updated | Posted
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I was injured at work, requiring two shoulder surgeries within 10 months. I re-injured the same shoulder and now have permanent restrictions (sedentary duty, nothing greater than 10 lbs push/pull/lifting). I am facing a reverse total shoulder replacement. I had a FCE done that correlated 100% with my restrictions.

I cannot do CPR. It is physically impossible. I work in a long-term care facility and am often the only RN in the building. My CPR expires at the end of March. I hate to say this but I know my time as a bedside nurse is over. Where can I go from here? Isn't CPR mandatory for all RNs, regardless of role?

Dear Restrictions,

So sorry to hear about your shoulder problems. Shoulder surgery and recovery are difficult.

It is facility-specific as to which job descriptions include basic life support (BLS). Generally it is all employees who have patient contact or possible patient contact. If an employee (including an RN) has zero patient contact, BLS may be waived as a requirement.

So you need a job that accommodates your work restrictions. The good news is there are a plethora of non-bedside clinician jobs. You may want to read 8 Stay at Home Jobs . There are also surveyors, who work for the state Dept of Health and survey facilities. There's case management and Documentation Specialists.

This is closing a chapter in your life sooner than you planned, but a new chapter is just beginning.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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