Modifying tasks when pregnant. My boss says "no".

  1. Has anyone else had to modify their tasks at work for being pregnant?

    I'm an RN in General Pediatrics & Pediatric Oncology and my OBGYN wants me on "light duty" at work for my pregnancy and I told my boss about this, I have a note and all from the doctor too. My boss told me there is no such thing as light duty for pregnant women and that I'd either have to be on maternity leave or not, however I've seen on several occasions that they assign light duty to others who have had a sprained ankle or wrist or who have hurt their back. These women have been assigned transport or come in to help with admissions or just to walk through the units to help the other nurses out.

    My position is such that I can be on my feet for literally up to 12.5 hours at a time. There is a lot of heavy lifting (which I've been avoiding), a lot of running, and extreme stress as I'm sure many of you can relate to! To top it off I work over-night and have always had a hard time sleeping during the day.

    I don't want to push the issue of "light duty" with my boss but I feel like I'm being treated very unfairly. I found a government website stating "If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job because of her pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks, perform alternative assignments, or take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled because of pregnancy to do the same." http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-preg.html

    I'm really frustrated. I still have 3 months left before the baby is due and I was planning to work up to at least 38 weeks (unless of course my OBGYN wants me out earlier). I wanted more time off with the baby and I am so upset about this. I don't want to hurt myself on the job because my boss won't help me to modify my tasks.
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    About RNnik07

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 17; Likes: 9

    58 Comments

  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    Physician needs to specify in note MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS for why light duty is required, just not "light duty due to pregnancy" as pregnancy is not considered an illness.

    Use the webiste link to press HR/employee health dept for details of your facilites light duty P+P.
  4. by   RNnik07
    Well I haven't handed my boss the note because she flat out told me I couldn't go on light duty. She didn't even ask why I needed to go on light duty, so as of right now the note itself doesn't even apply. Even if it stated exactly why he wants me on light duty she doesn't seem to care. I called the disability office at work and left a message tonight explaining what's going on, I hope to hear back from someone tomorrow before I go back into work at night....
  5. by   BrnEyedGirl
    The hospital where I work has no light duty period,...now with that said we do often unofficially allow people to take a lighter load and work as a team to help out our co worker rather than force them to stay home. We also try to keep our pregnant nurses away from sick kids, which can be an issue as I work in ER. The previous poster was correct, you need a diagnosis and pregnancy won't work. Have your doc be very specific about what is going on with your pregnancy that prevents you from doing certain activities. You didn't mention in your posts what exactly you can't do,...what is "light duty" to your doc? I work 12hr nights also and yes it can be a long, demanding shift that often runs into 13-14hrs,..but most otherwise healthy, pregnant nurses manage to make it through. I finished a shift 9hrs before my first daughter was born! If you are in a high risk pregnancy your doc needs to be very specific about what you can and can not do. Best of luck to you!
  6. by   Kymmi
    I can answer your question of why others are allowed light duty and you are told there is no light duty because I went thru this myself, was given a explanation and checked to be sure the explanation was legal.
    IF you are injured on the job and collecting workers comp. then the employer can assign light duty. They'd rather have someone sitting in a chair the entire shift doing nothing as to being at home collecting workers comp. because for each day paid out from workers comp. the hospital's workers comp. rates raise. It saves them more money on their workers comp. fees the less workers comp. they have to have paid out.
    IF you are NOT injured on the job then they are allowed to say there is no such thing as light duty and therefore you either need to be allowed to work per your job description or else take a LOA.
    Im not sure if your hospital would agree but I had my MD write I could perform all duties per my job description but could not work more than 2 days in a row. My employer allowed me to do that. Also I've seen others who's MD wrote they could only do 8 hour shifts and the hospital worked with that employee also.
  7. by   RN1982
    I don't think there is such thing as light duty. We just had two nurses give birth and they took normal assignments just like everyone up until they left for leave. However one did have a lifting restriction because she had placenta previa but after she was cleared, her lifting restriction was removed. If your doctor had any other reason (diagnosis) to order you to have light duty such as in the example of the nurse I worked with who had placent previa, I can understand. But otherwise, the nurses that I worked with didn't expect special assignments and didn't ask for them even though they were offered them.
  8. by   ONCRN84
    I've never been pregnant but plan to someday... but because of some health problems with my reproductive system I'll be considered high risk. I'm super nervous about how this will work with nursing.

    I hope it works out for you. It's just an additional stress you don't need at the end. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!!!
  9. by   Mike A. Fungin RN
    I don't understand... is there a reason you can't take a LOA or maternity leave?
  10. by   inkedRN
    Why does your OB want you on light duty? You're pregnant, not hurt or sick lol. Are you high risk? If you are, more than likely you will need to go on LOA or early maternity leave.
  11. by   diosadelsol
    Look, you're pregnant, not injured. Unless you are high risk, with or without complications, you don't need light duty. Yea, you're gonna be more tired than usual, and yea it's gonna be more difficult to sleep, but all that is gonna be whether you are on light duty or not. You shouldn't be pulling on big pts and you probably shouldn't be dealing with chemo, but you should be able to take a normal pt load. Hopefully you have some good colleagues who will help you out in certain situations. When I was preggers, my coworkers wouldn't let me pull my pts up in the bed, they would come in and do it for me. They would help my with my baths and do all the holding and turning. Your manager does sound a bit unreasonable, not even hearing you out, but if there are extinuating circumstances, you need to speak up. I hope everything works out for you.
  12. by   Lacie
    Quote from diosadelsol
    Look, you're pregnant, not injured. Unless you are high risk, with or without complications, you don't need light duty. Yea, you're gonna be more tired than usual, and yea it's gonna be more difficult to sleep, but all that is gonna be whether you are on light duty or not. You shouldn't be pulling on big pts and you probably shouldn't be dealing with chemo, but you should be able to take a normal pt load. Hopefully you have some good colleagues who will help you out in certain situations. When I was preggers, my coworkers wouldn't let me pull my pts up in the bed, they would come in and do it for me. They would help my with my baths and do all the holding and turning. Your manager does sound a bit unreasonable, not even hearing you out, but if there are extinuating circumstances, you need to speak up. I hope everything works out for you.
    If your physical abilities are so limited as not to perform your job with risk either to you or your patients then apply for FMLA. I worked in Trauma/Critical Care up to going into labor. Literally I was hurrying up with end shift report in full blown labor and went straight up to OB at the end of my report lol. Co-workers were great to help without me asking when it came to needing to sit down for a few or lifting/turning a large patient. I remember 1 week prior to my delivery on top of a pt giving CPR which believe me wasnt easy with a big belly lol. Yes I was tired, yes my feet were hurt and swollen, yes I just wanted to get it over with.
    Most my co-workers became protective and looked out for me without asking. I didnt complain which I know they appreciated as we had others who were pregnant and by thier 3rd months were complaining about how bad they felt or couldnt do this or that. This is were you need a good relationship with your co-workers if you want to continue to work through your pregnancy.
  13. by   tencat
    Hmmm......why can't someone just take a LOA for pregnancy? MONEY. LOA=No Income.....and what is the big hairy deal about letting her do light duty??? Irritates me that people seem to have a "So what? You're JUST pregnant" attitude about the whole thing. I have had a high risk pregnancy, and when it's high risk, it IS a medical condition....and it is valid. This is just another example of what's wrong with hospital workplace conditions. For a profession that is all about helping people, it sure is unkind and unhelpful to the people who carry out the job day in and day out. Ironic.
  14. by   Otessa
    Talk to employee health and HR-give THEM your note and the manager will need to comply-bypass the manager. It is about the health of you and your childas noted by your OB/GYN.

    otessa

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