HELP Recyle disabled nurses - page 2

I know that I am not the only nurse who is no longer working as a nurse due to a back injury. In the US, OSHA requires that you be able to lift 50 lbs to work on the floor as a nurse. I can't. My... Read More

  1. by   mattsmom81
    I have been educating myself as to the Americans with Disabilities Act and injured workers have the right to fair treatment under the law.

    I know as a group, we don't like to 'throw our weight around' and force an issue, but maybe if more nurses reported hospitals to government agencies for their unfair treatment of injured nurses, the practice of 'throwing away' nurses would stop.

    As a group nurses are too easygoing, and we don't want to be a burden to our coworkers by refusing to lift. BUT there are PLENTY of nursing jobs we CAN do without lifting and we need to become proactive in going after these jobs, and standing up for ourselves.

    I am starting my recup from neck fusion surgery last week and as I look to my future possibilities, I see it is imperative I become my own best advocate.

    Good luck to all of us in similar situations...and don't let the turkeys get you down!
  2. by   mercykitten
    Mattsmom81, I hope your recovery is quick. I will be praying for you.
    Yes, we all need to work together to recycle nurses that have developed limitations due to injuries. The most important item a nurse brings to her job is her brain. Most of us still have most of that with lots of experience.
    It just seems to me that with the nursing shortage that hospitals would be eager to accomodate the lifting problems for nurses who are able to still due to IVs, IV meds, assessments etc.
    If nothing else, we could be the RN buddy for a couple of LPNs. We could do their IV meds, admissions, all the stuff RNs have to cosign on.
    I work night shift. We have an ongoing cycle, which I am sure is shared by many others, of experienced people leaving, and night shift ending up with only a couple of experienced nurses. Then we have too much going on and not enough experienced nurses to help. There are holes in health care.....maybe we could fill them.
  3. by   catlady
    I know a couple of nurses who were terminated when their workman's compensation expired. The hospital did nothing to try to help these women find jobs. Unfortunately, one of the nurses had just as much trouble sitting as she did lifting. It was very hard for her to find work that she could physically handle.

    I won't add to the list that others have already given you, but I know that my new job, case manager, doesn't require any lifting. I also was an LPN instructor and the faculty was allowed five years to earn a master's degree.
  4. by   mattsmom81
    That's interesting to hear that LVN educators may be hired while they are still working on their Masters.....that may be a good option for me after I get the I feel I would enjoy teaching.

    Thanks for sharing, Catlady!
  5. by   mercykitten
    Catlady, thanks for the info about LPN instructors. I will look into that. Also your info has helped at least one other person.
    Again, let me say that a reason for posting this thread was to help other injured nurses find a path.
    But again, I still think that many of us injured nurses could still be a valuable tool at this time of shortage. I guess when the hospitals get desperate enough, some inroads will be made here.
  6. by   mattsmom81
    The last job I had was as a charge nurse on a stepdown unit. My coworkers were very good to me and did the lifting; I did other things to help them as well as man the desk and monitors, etc.

    The stress of the position finally did get to me though...too much pain wore me down. Hopefully I will feel better in days to come now that I've had my surgery. Who knows though...I have lots of spinal arthritis and will take it one day at a time.

    There are some facilities who hire charge nurses who do not have to take patients or lift...particularly places like PCU where someone with ICU skills can troubleshoot, watch monitors, and mentor new staff....I think it's worth it for back injured nurses to check these types of things out. Mercykitten, perhaps you could find a charge position like this in your area. Even nursing supervisor? I was told if I get better to come back to my charge position, ...but it is hard to police yourself NOT to pitch in and lift and we feel bad about not helping our coworkers...

    Too bad hospitals won't hire aides and orderlies to help lift anymore...those were the good old days. Now nurses 'do it all'.
  7. by   mercykitten
    Mattsmom81, I did apply for nursing supervisor at my hospital. The administration went back and added a 50 lb lifting requirement to the position. I have never seen one of the supervisors lifting a pt or 50 lbs of paper.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    How about ADJUNCT instructor at a local college? Our adjuncts all had BSN's and not MSN's and were DARN good at it. Also, many junior colleges --"ADN"-- programs, hire experienced BSN-prepared nurses to instruct, contingent upon them agreeing to pursue a master's degree in a given time frame. I am sure they would LOVE someone like YOU on their team. Some even get a good portion of their master's degree paid for this way. Two of my regular clinical instructors earned their MSN's while I was attending school there. One is now a nurse practioner and adjunct instructor and the other eventually became head of the nursing department at the college. You could try that route; Ever think of that?

    Sorry to say, but I agree w/Angus. Try to focus on what you CAN do and what resources are available to you. You are certainly worth it and too great a "natural resource" --- not to mention a veritable fountain of experience and clinical knowledge ---not to share what you know with aspiring nurses! Go for it! It is MY goal one day to do so! Good luck to you.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    Wow, what a GREAT idea...I never thought that the college might even help with tuition expenses...but now that I think about it, there is a shortage of instructors too, isn't there?

    Mercykitten, maybe we need to become instructors and let the college help with expenses.

    I'm sorry your facility did you that way...some just don't want to negotiate that #XX)* lifting and see us as risky hires. Do you feel up to being an aggressive advocate for yourself and 'sell' yourself to a facility in the supervisory role? Can you handle the role...I can't now due to pain, but maybe in the future...You may be able to encourage administration to be free thinkers in today's nursing shortage....good supervisors/managers are hard to find. Can you think of a way to make yourself more attractive to them ie will do multiple shifts, cross train to other low physical areas, etc.? Maybe even a trial basis (money talks..maybe even accept a little lower pay to start)...then absolutely shine at your job?

    Keeping positive and promoting a winning attitude is a real challenge to those of us who are hurting.

    This is a great thread, Mercykitten, and I appreciate all the input I've seen here. Let's keep this thread going and encourage one another!

    You've probably already thought of ALL these things I mentioned but it never hurts to give it another try, IMO. Also keeps my brain thinking positive to write it down. Thanks all! :kiss
  10. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by mercykitten
    Mattsmom81, I did apply for nursing supervisor at my hospital. The administration went back and added a 50 lb lifting requirement to the position. I have never seen one of the supervisors lifting a pt or 50 lbs of paper.
    There is no question that you are being railroaded. What are you doing? Fighting it or moving on. Just courios not accusing.
    I am particularly interested if you are fighting it, to learn what works???

    I have lerned not to fight as I am too often alone in my fights. Too often people will "stand behind me" SILENTLY and give "support" SILENTLY. I. E. they appreciate that I am fighting for them and thank me and say they support me but "can't afford" to stick their own necks out and let adm. know that they feel the same as I. Somehow they think I can do it all alone. And actually cheer me on but again this cheer is effectively silent because I am the only one allowed to hear it.
  11. by   mattsmom81
    I am also interested in 'how to fight the system' and win in the hospital game that administrators wage against injured nurses.

    I know one nurse who was injured on the job and ended up in a wheelchair. She got a good attorney and part of her settlement was to be guaranteed an administrative job for life...complete with a personal assistant at the hospital.

    Maybe we ALL need attorneys? And need to challenge hospitals legally using the ADA?

    And I know what you mean, Agnus, I 'felt' a lot of support too but others often do NOT speak up....nurses haven't learned to use their collective voice to benefit one another ...yet..

    I have hope for our future though as I've seen more progress this past year than in my 24 years of nursing before this.

    Power to Nurses !!!
  12. by   mercykitten
    One way that I am fighting is this thread. If we can make more people aware of the problem, both nurses and others, it may be possible to bring public opinion to bear and change the current approach that hospitals take.
    If we can make people aware, "hey, I had to wait 30-45 min. for a pain shot and it was way past the time I could have it."
    "sorry, haven't you heard there is a nursing shortage. The nurses are doing the best they can"
    "Hey, here is a group of trained nurses......they can't lift pts but they could have given that pain med on time."
    There is a shortage. We, disabled nurses, could still help. One place that I worked had an older nurse working on the floor as our IV nurse. She started all the IVs and gave all the IV meds on the floor. She was a real asset. But that hospital merger with another and no longer exist.
    Interestingly enough, I just read today's paper. The Medical Staff are taking a vote of confidence on our CEO this week. The doctors have been real unhappy over the nursing shortage at our hospital. My floor has been on mandatory overtime for 2 years.
  13. by   mattsmom81
    Mercykitten, one way we can help ourselves is to network within our support systems. Doctors have a lot of pull in hospitals. If you have a good relationship with the influential docs in your facility, ask them to speak up on your behalf and support you in a supervisory role you want. It could only help....and you may be surprised how supportive they can be if they are aware of the nursing shortage as you say.