How much lifting do you do?

  1. Hi all,

    I'm in school taking my pre-reqs for the nursing program and I have a question about the amount of physical labor you all do. I sustained a rt distal radius fracture when I was 17 (I'm 27 now) and was deemed 35% disabled in my wrist by the ortho dr. I already have some arthritis in it and doctors tell me it will only get worse and one day I may need to have a rod put in to permanently straighten in. My wrist does hurt when lifting things or twisting things (like a screwdriver). What is the maximum you are expected to lift as a LPN or RN? Is it legal that I would be denied employment if I could not lift a patient?


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    Joined: Oct '07; Posts: 64; Likes: 6
    Specialty: B.S. Psychology


  3. by   RN1989
    Many jobs that I have had that require direct care usually have a wt amt that you must be able to lift. Most of the places had the ability to lift 50 lbs as their requirements for the position. I have even had to have "physicals" and then have a LPTA put me through paces of seeing how many times I could lift 50-80 pounds, walk a short distance and put the load down then pick it up again - going back and forth until they called "time". They have even gone so far as to require me to do pushups, situps, walk on a treadmill and answer some nosey questions. They didn't want to hire people that couldn't do it, or people that might be higher health/life insurance risk without knowing. And since they did it for all employees at the hospital, it wasn't considered discrimination.

    Most jobs ask if there are any limitations you have in performing your job and what modifications have to be made in order to allow you to complete your job. That is federal law. They are not supposed to discriminate, but I can guarantee that if there are two equally acceptable applicants and one has lifing restrictions - the one with lifting restrictions will not get the job. And you have to be able to prove that they are discriminating against you without a shadow of a doubt, in order to be hired. And then, they will make your life miserable if you somehow get a judge to force them to hire you. I've seen staff hurt on the job, be on light duty for a back injury, and end up terminated for various reasons. Not being able to lift puts an extra strain on staffing, and if it costs the employer money, then you can bet it will not be tolerated.

    Is it legal not to hire you with a disability? NO. But chances are they will not consider this a disability since it does not interfere with your being able to perform most jobs as you are not receiving disability pay for it. It may or may not hurt you to disclose this as a disability when you are filling out apps. But if you truly cannot lift and you don't disclose it when you sign that you are able to fulfill all the requirements of the job description, they will constitute that as lying and can then terminate you. You've got a sticky situation with no clear answers. HR specialists are trained to ensure that any discrimination does not look like discrimination so that they don't get the hospital in trouble. If you apply only for jobs that don't deal with adults, so that the chances of you needing to lift a full-size person are minimal, you might have an easier time. But beware that even many sit down office jobs that have nothing to do with nursing require you to be able to lift 30-50 pounds worth of files, office equipment, etc. You really need to check into any specific labor laws where you are at. You might even contact a counselor that has experience with disabled people and see if they can help you decide how to word things when you are looking for a job.
  4. by   ginger58
    Rhonda, that's a very good question. I think you will be at a disadvantage unless you work on a unit not involved with direct patient care.
    There is a movement afoot for nurses not to "lift" and either have lift equipment or a lift team. From my experience this sounds good but one doesn't always happen to have these items available.
    I wish you the best and I guess it will depend on how much leeway your school with give you during clinicals.
  5. by   gonzo1
    I work with a nurse who has a flipper for a hand. He manages to do a bang up job.
    I have a bad left leg but wear special shoes to help my gait pattern. I manage to work 12 hours without much difficulty. I was once told I would never walk again.
    If you want to be a nurse then go for it. You owe it to yourself to push the envelope as much as you want. Your body will adapt and adjust if this is your dream. I do not tell anyone I am disabled and no one has figured it out.
    I work with several nurses that have varying problems and we all do a great job. You wil not know if you don't try.
    Good luck and god bless
  6. by   gonzo1
    One thing I am a nut about is lifting. I always get help and always encourage everyone I see lifting to get help. We have to protect our bodies from injury, they are our paycheck and I won't risk injury for anyone or anything.
    I lift up to 245 lbs alone if they are partialy weight bearing. I am a male & I am 200 lbs
    & workout. Two days ago I had to catch a male resident that is 215 lbs I caught him no injuries to both of us. I am glad none of the girls/ladies i work with had to catch him.
  8. by   KJB_65
    I'm a hospice nurse and unless I'm turning someone on their side to assess them, I can't say I do much lifting. Even then, I'm using the draw sheet.