Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 10

I'm sure I'm not the first (or the last) nurse to deal with this issue - I've been a Nurse for over 27 years and now I find myself having trouble "keeping up".(( Due to age? Weight? Arthritis? effect... Read More

  1. by   NurseDennie
    Mattsmom - I SO 100% agree with you! We're all taught all this crap about body mechanics in school and then we really BELIEVE that it will protect us from injury. At least I did. And you're right - nurses all have bad backs! Are we all too bloody stupid to do the body mechanics right? I don't think so! And if you see someone with that rolling side-side gait from bad hips and knees - likely as not, that's a nurse with "old nurse's gait." as my friends and I call it.

    I tore some tendons in my arm pulling a patient up in bed. WITH help. WITH the bed at the proper level and attitude. My fault. I re-injured some torn muscles in my back when a lady who PROMISED, SWORE that she could stand collapsed onto me. I had help - I was using proper body mechanics! But one minute I was supporting myself and the next I was supporting myself another another adult.

    Then employee health and the nursing managers try to make you feel guilty and stupid.


  2. by   Franca
    I'm not in school yet, so I'm green to the gills--but not young.

    I'm reading on the BB's about 12-hour shifts that sometimes extend to 16 if the nurse is on the mandatory list and about no meals most of the shifts with a trip to the lavatory a rare event. I'm also presently reading through several drug reference books in order to critique them for a publisher. The information contained is extensive, and I wonder how a nurse has time to keep up with contraindications to drugs ordered and also how he/she watches for adverse events and has time for adequate assessments.

    I've worked enough years to realize balance is one of the keys to happiness, besides realizing patient care surely must suffer when a nurse is stretched to breakdown physically.

    I want to know, is it possible to only work an 8-hour shift bedside as a nurse ("bedside" in my question meaning emergency department too in addition to bedside on any of the floors, if ED isn't technically in the definition of "bedside.")?

    I ask you, can you see police officers, with the level of stress they endure, working 12 and 16-hour shifts? Do EMTs work those shifts?

    I do not plan to work that long a day; so, I'm asking, is it possible to hold firm to my desire and still be hired? ((I understand that school will stretch me physically during clinicals, b/c the doctor (Ph.D.) giving the introduction at nursing school on Monday said that some shifts for clinicals could run 7A to 7P. There isn't much I can do about that setup; but, thankfully that shift won't be two days straight.))

    Perhaps it is possible to only work 8-hour shifts as fill in where needed (and keep others from having to do a mandatory extra four hours).

    What do you think? Are there any options for a hospital nurse other than 12-hour or 16-hour days with no meals?
    Last edit by Franca on Feb 13, '02
  3. by   live4today
    mattsmom81: I sent you a "private message" to answer your question!

    Nurses, watch those backs! I've been down that road, also with the right arm injury that has had me off work five years almost. And, I'm not collecting one red cent for the injury either! NOPE! I'm what the hospitals needed when I was healthy, but now I'm "broken down", so I'm no use to them anymore. Darn it!
  4. by   NurseDennie
    Franca -

    Absolutely can you find jobs where there are 8 hour or even 4 hour shifts. That's one of the great things about nursing.

    As far as the pharmacology goes, it's very slow at first. You get some pharm courses, and they really give you the knowledge of how to look up what you need to know and actually what you really need to know! Then when you're actually nursing, then you will have some meds that are just given time and time again for the speciality that you're practicing. They get to be second nature, and you don't have to look them up every time. Even to someone like me who has never had a GREAT memory. But the pockets in nursing uniforms and scrub jackets are big and will hold the drug book!!! And things don't stay standard for long, but for some reason, the changes seem to be easy to retain. I've been away from "real" nursing for over a year, and I still remember most of the dosages for the medications that I gave a lot, as well as the major drug/drug and drug/food interactions.

    So, it's slow at first, but it's definitely do-able.

    And, like I said, the 8-hour shifts are most likely doable as well. I don't know what to tell you about mandatory overtime - it's different from place to place. Some places, if you refuse, you get fired. But that seems a small price to pay if the alternative is working when you're too tired to function correctly, isn't it?

    I hope this thread hasn't discouraged you unduely. We all have to vent sometimes, and I can't tell you that the job is NOT hard on your back, neck, arms, hips, etc., etc., etc..... I found that the attitude from the hospital that *I* had done something wrong or I wouldn't have been hurt to be more of an issue for me than the actual injuries!


  5. by   Franca
    Thank you Dennie. Hearing from you that there are possibilities other than long, long shifts is the encouragment I need. Also your information about pharmacology courses (and big pockets on uniforms! ) tells me that yes, I can do this. I'm okay with the posts on this thread, they aren't discouraging to me; they are very educational and helpful, and I feel a bond of online friendship with the nurses.

    I applied today for admission to the local junior college to take Spanish 1 this summer. (I bought the Spanish book and workbook today so I can start studying now, because this course will be a BIG, BIG challenge for me as to pronunciation AND memory; but, I want to be a bilingual nurse.)

    If I am accepted to nursing school fall 2003, I'll start then; if not, then I'll apply for fall 2004, .

    Thank you for encouraging me.
    Last edit by Franca on Feb 13, '02
  6. by   Karen4HIM1951
    glad to see you all - busy day here, couldn't get on and respond like i would have liked to - and now it's soo-o--o late! i'll catch you all during the day h a p p y v a l e n t i n e s d a y ! ! ! ! !

    here's a poem for you all:

    "love, what love!!!"
    by: karen ebel

    as the years go by, you've been their support, the foundation for them to build their
    young lives on.
    the one who guided them, comforted and consoled them, cheered them on to great
    sacrificed your wants and desires, dedicated many years of your life to give them what
    they needed to get a good start on life.
    then all of a sudden, you find yourself:

    -helpless when they struggle thru hard times
    -frustrated when you watch them make mistakes, wrong choices
    -wanting to run to their rescue, pick them up when they fall, make everything ok
    -aching and longing when you haven't seen or spoken to them in weeks
    -yearning to hear their voice, hug them, hold them close to your breast
    -wishing that you could go thru all the heartache and disappointments for them
    -realizing that all you can do is pray that god will guide and strengthen them

    these are feelings that no one can understand - no one except for a parent.
    no one can understand the width, breadth and depth of the love parents have for their children
    no one, except for god, our father, who loved us so much that he sacrificed his son - for us ! ! !

    i'm sure this will not be lined up in proper form - but you'll get the meaning anyway -
    Last edit by Karen4HIM1951 on Feb 14, '02
  7. by   betts
  8. by   Karen4HIM1951
    good morning all!!!!! yep - i finally crawled out of the bed!!!!

    boy this cfids (cfs) is the pits!!!!!!

    as amy peterson (a u.s. speedskater with cfs) said on international tv: "i have my red-light days in which i can barely drag myself out of bed, and my green-light days when i can almost function normally."

    today already seems like a "green-light day" for me!!

    about aching backs - i have a buldging disc from moving many heavy patients (probably started when i worked rehab). but as soon as i found out about it i started doing back exercises and trying to take care of it - have had no need for surgery (thank goodness). i don't need to take pain meds for it - the only way it affects me is that i can't stay in bed for more than 8 hours or it will really hurt!!!! i don't think that's bad - especially with all the excess weight i'm carrying!!

    i had to change jobs at the age of 43 when the hospital i worked for changed from 8 hour to 12 hour shifts!!! i tried but couldn't handle 12 hours - - - there are some places that still have 8 hour shifts and some facilities will work with you!!

    glad you all are posting again!! i missed the activity!!!!!

    happy valentines day everyone!!!!!!!!!! :d
  9. by   hickman35
    It is ashame, but The American Nursses Association did nothing to help nurses with retirement. The teachers association looked out for their teachers and they get excellent retirement benefits.
    Instead of spending so much time on capitol hill fighting legislation, why didn't they put all the dues that were paid to them into retirement funds for nurses? The ANA needs to look at their priorities.
  10. by   Karen4HIM1951
    A M E N hickman35!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. by   NancyRN
    So...what good are Unions? We haven't got any nurses unions here in Cincinnati (that I know of). I keep wondering why we don't have one and if they're any help.
  12. by   live4today
    Hello Karen! I absolutely LOVE your post #123!!! Thank you for sharing that poem. You wrote that, didn't you? It's beautiful and inspirational, too!
  13. by   mattsmom81
    I believe unions are our best option if we live in a state where unionization is supported. I grew up in a union area up north and graduated in an area where nurses were unionized. We had more control over our practice setting with the union presence, and they were an additional 'voice' in our favor. Now that I am down South where unions are a dirty word, I find my wage may be a bit higher but the conditions are far worse. Just my experience. I look to the California nurses as a guidepost for all of us in the US and pray that we can follow in their footsteps. What a great example the California nurse organizers have set for us all!