Pregnant and wanting to LEAVE early

  1. I am currently an ER nurse and am 26 weeks pregnant. I work in an understaffed hospital with very high turnover. There are only 2 staff RN's on the nightshift. The rest are travelers or registry. I have been having a frustrating pregnancy from the beginning. I had hyperemesis until 19 weeks. I had a thrombosed hemmorrhoid removed last week and I have had sciatic nerve pain and ligament pain throughout. I am usually not a complainer but I am frustrated!
    Last week I was taking care of a guy high on cocaine who flipped out and hit me in the stomach/chest area with his right arm that had a cast on it. Because I couldn't leave immediately and check on myself or by baby, I finished assisting with the cath UA and then left. I stopped with the tech and got FHT's with the doppler which made me feel a little better. Then my shift was over. I have been having some lower abdominal pressure every since then....no spotting and the pressure is irregular, comes and goes mostly when I am at work or doing heavy housework at home. I am going to my OB today and I want him to put me on disability for the remainder of my pregnancy. I feel that this would be appropriate due to the unstable environment and with the ER being so understaffed. Sometimes I don't even get to pee until 8 hours into my shift!
    Is this a reasonable concern to me or am I being overly paranoid!?
    Thanks for the input!
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    About RNintheER

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 17; Likes: 1

    13 Comments

  3. by   Lorie P.
    Put yourself anf your baby first! No this is not unreasonable, good luck and do not feel quilty about wanting to protect your little one.
  4. by   fultzymom
    Sounds like pretty stressful working conditions for someone not pregnant. It does not hurt to ask your MD to put you off of work. Mine never would though just because I wanted to be off. Always waited on the medical reason to. If they do not put you off could you take some FMLA time?
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    if you can't get a lol go anyway...you will never regret it
  6. by   Jolie
    Congratulations for putting your baby's safety and yours first!

    In my opinion, it is perfectly reasonable to request a leave under these circumstances. Another option might be to request a transfer to a non-patient care position, but that is probably not likely to happen.

    I suggest that you request a meeting with your HR representative so that you fully understand the FMLA policy of your employer.

    Generally speaking, if your physician documents a need for leave, your employer must comply, but there are limits to the benefits you will receive. Most employers allow 12-13 weeks total FMLA time per year. At 26 weeks gestation, you may use that entire amount before your baby is due. If so, will you be able to get an extension? If your employer says yes, please get that in writing, along with the terms of the extension (Insurance coverage? Same position and shift held for you?) Also, during your leave, you must continue to pay the employee portion of your benefits. Do you have the funds to do so if you are not bringing in any income? Lastly, do you intend to return to work at the conclusion of your leave? If you do not return in a benefits-eligible position, your employer has the right to bill you for the cost of the benefits provided during your leave. (Not all do, but it is their legal right.) So if you don't intend to return, it might be best to find out if you are covered under your spouse's insurance before taking your leave.

    I'm not trying to discourage you from taking a leave, just want to make sure that you don't end up with any unpleasant expenses afterward.

    Take good care of yourself and your wee one!
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    (((((((((((((((((((warm tender hugs))))))))))))))))))))

    Please, do talk to your OB about your situation and take whatever measures you need to ensure the safety or yourself and your baby-to-be. Congratulations and I hope the remainder of your pregnancy goes better than it has so far.
  8. by   dgross
    TRUST YOURSELF. YOU know what's right for you and your baby. I had a similar situation in that I was concerned, but the dr convinced me that since I heard the FHR on doppler all was well. I delivered a full-term stillborn less than a week later. Don't take a risk - it' not worth it!

    Good luck to you and God Bless!
  9. by   MS. ICANDOIT
    Taking blows to the belly is never a good thing. If your OB won't consider at LEAST a transfer or restrictions to desk duty consider a new OB..... (I just showed your story to my mentor's husband who happens to be a high-risk OB he agrees)
  10. by   TazziRN
    No, it is not unreasonable at all. I was allowed to continue working as long as I was able to follow ACOG guidelines about how much time I should spend on my feet versus sitting down as my pregnancy progressed. I had planned to work until 36 weeks but was taken out at 32 when I was caught by my two docs walking down the hallway hanging onto the wall and not looking so good. 26 weeks is pretty far along to still be working ER, and getting hit in the tummy is definitely cause to go on leave early if the hospital cannot guarantee the safety of you and your baby.
  11. by   V. Nightingale
    I'll be the voice of dissent here; I don't necessarily think that you need to go off work just yet. I worked in the ER up to delivery with my first, and worked my last shift there last week (I am scheduled for a c section on Monday). That said, your coworkers need to do what mine did -- step up and make sure that you aren't taking patients who could put you in danger. A pregnant woman at any stage has NO business taking care of patients who are high or violent. Let your friends take those patients, and you take the little 90 year old grannies for a while.
  12. by   julieK
    Quote from V. Nightingale
    I'll be the voice of dissent here; I don't necessarily think that you need to go off work just yet. I worked in the ER up to delivery with my first, and worked my last shift there last week (I am scheduled for a c section on Monday). That said, your coworkers need to do what mine did -- step up and make sure that you aren't taking patients who could put you in danger. A pregnant woman at any stage has NO business taking care of patients who are high or violent. Let your friends take those patients, and you take the little 90 year old grannies for a while.
    This is so true. The support of your co-workers can make or break your ability to continue working through a pregnancy. I worked until 38 weeks with my first, but I was working on a med onc floor. Very busy and on my feet 95% of the time, but not an ER situation by any means. My co-workers were pretty supportive, but there was one (who had never had kids of her own) who was known to prance around the floor, saying, "Pregnancy is a natural state. It's NOT a state of disability." Quite annoying.

    -Julie in NYC
  13. by   TazziRN
    What about the pain she"s having????
  14. by   JRapha'sRN
    I have to agree with some of each opinion. If you are having pain and putting yourself and/or the baby at risk, you need to do something different. On the other hand, if you can take the "LOL,FDGB" type people or other non-violent patients and leave the unpredictable ones to the other staff members than I would think you could continue to work.

    I am 28 weeks pregnant and still working full-time plus in my ED. Most of the staff members are great about letting me pass on the patients I don't feel safe with. I also pass on the "vaginal bleeding, possible miscariage" patients (for the patient's sake as they grieve) and haven't had any coworkers complain.

    Does your ED let you sit at triage? Doing triage is not as physically active as being back in the thick of the action.

    As far as the pressure you are experiencing, are you having Braxton-Hicks contractions? I would investigate your symptoms. If this is a complication placing your baby at risk it needs to be treated seriously. If it is a normal irritation of pregnancy than it may not warrant going on leave already.

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