Nurses over 50 &/or with health issues affecting work - page 12

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   mattsmom81
    Hi Lyn, your post tickled me so had to reply!

    Some days even getting out of bed seems like a huge challenge...LOL!

    I looked into those insurance physicals but they wanted me to drive all over he** and back for about minimum wage all figured. Is the pay any better if you work directly for an insurance company? (This was a third party called Portamedic)

    The 'pick and choose' private duty doesn't sound like a bad idea...guess I'd just have to get 'very firm' with the agency when they push too hard...I just can't handle all the heavy lifting anymore and wouldn't want a full load of patients either.

    I moved around a lot throughout my career fed up with the politics and liked the variety of working at 10 or so critical care units in my area. Agency critical care was my niche overall cuz I never got bored and could stay out of the facility BS.

    Thanks for giving me some food for thought! :>)
  2. by   spwnqb
    Just wanted to say that my heart goes out to everyone who is having this trouble. I love nursing and have been a nurse for 20 years, but I also think it is a pathological profession. There is an old saying that, "nurses eat their young" now we are looking at, "nurses eat their elders" After giving our hearts and souls for so many years, hospital systems are giving us the shaft. Perhaps with this new acute shortage, the younger generation of nurses will be more business savvy, and figure out a way to bill for their professional services instead of being part of the room charge. And get out from under the thumb of the hospital administration.

    I haven't done any floor/hospital nursing for several years, but I did join the military at age 47. Something that I had always wanted to do, but circumstances were never right until then. But there are prejudices there too. Because I joined so late, I am not retirement eligible (have to be able to do 20 years) and so consequently, I am not allowed to go to any schools, or get any education assistance etc. Not that it would have made any difference had I know before I was comissioned, but it does hurt sometimes when I see others (who were allowed to go to anesthesia or OR school) only turn around and get out anyway.

    Nice to see postings from others in my age group. Keep the faith, and never give up........

    Success comes when opportunity meets determination
  3. by   prmenrs
    I have decided that I'm gong to retire on Aug 1st. I'm tired. I want to enjoy myself before I'm too tired to. My mother is 78, I'd like some time to spend w/her before I can't. I want to drive my son across country and visit all the neat places and good friends back east. I might work a day every other week or something like that, but, even tho I might not be as well off as I would be if I waited a couple more years, at least I'll be ALIVE longer.

    I'm currently taking 2 antihypertensives and 3 antidepressants; I have irritable bowel syndrome, and osteoarthritis in my back; I'm looking forward to NOT spending every day off trying to recover from the previous 12 hour shift. I have no doubt my health will improve.

  4. by   lever5
    Hey Mattsmom,
    Sorry, I forgot I posted here, did not check it until today, I started with University of Phoenix, got through the first course with a decent grade, the second course posed problems. I had moved to a different state where the hospital schedules me 4-12's in a row. UOP requires that you participate 5 out of 7 days in the chat room. There may be 50 or more messages to download and read. After a 12 hour shift I just could not keep up with the required work load. I have heard that there are other online colleges that let you go at your own pace. St. Joseph's in Maine is one. The UOP MSN is in management, which I really did not want to do, I would rather be a teacher. You can teach with any MSN, so that is why I went for that program.
  5. by   RNKitty
    GOOD FOR YOU prmenrs!!!! Money is nice, but it isn't everything. GOOD LUCK!
  6. by   mattsmom81
    Thanks for the info, Lever 5! I will check with St. Joseph's! I wouldn't be able to do UOP with your work schedule either!
  7. by   jstinerich
    I was just thinking how I wish I could talk to someone who would be empathic with my situation. Because of an AA in my 20's while still in nursing school, I have severe muscle spasms when lifting. Therefore, I went back to school in my 30's and got my MSN and transferred from intensive care and floor nursing to inservice educator and then nursing instructor. Then in '97 for the first time, I had to take prednisone with an antibiotic if I got bronchitis or sinusitis. (hx - asthma, allergic rhinitis, both lungs collapsed in AA). In '99 was tested for and diagnosed with gammaglobulinemia (my body doesn't make memory gammaglobulin - IOW, I can catch the same thing over and over again.) Now, I'm worried about developing a drug resistant infection. Neither P.A., allergist, nor hematologitist want to support me in the fact that I cannot work; all careers of which I am aware require being around people to work. I don't need to be around people much less sick people. Because of the anemia, I am not current in CPR and cannot take the course. Even if I could find a job that wouldn't finish ruining my fragile health, I doubt if I could keep it because of the number of absences due to illnesses and the number of doc appts. I've had the flu twice this winter even after I had flu vaccine in November (Thank God for Tamiflu). Even with IVIG (gammaglobulin IV), about every 6 weeks I'm usually taking 2 or 3 rounds on antibiotics c/s prednisone. Twice I've been told "If this one doesn't get it, your going to have to be hospitalized for IV antibiotic tx." That's what I really want to do - go into a hospital with more folks with MRSA and VRSA infections! FYI, I turned 50 this year.
    Last edit by jstinerich on Apr 21, '02
  8. by   mattsmom81
    Wow, jstinerich, you have a lot on your plate and I commend you for your fortitude in dealing with all this!

    If you have sufficient energy to work, you might consider a job based from home or office like telephonic case management for insurance companies or similar, or auditing of charts (UR, etc) where your contact with people is limited. Maybe home based workers comp case management where you work with injured workers (not necessarily sick) 1:1 in an advisory role wouldn't throw your immune system for a loop like facility nursing does.

    I know missing work frequently due to illness is a prequalifier for SSD...we hate to give up and go on disability (I may be there soon myself so I've been researching) but it will at least bring some income into your household while you look around for the 'right' job....I can empathize with your situation completely.
    Have you seen an immunologist? Perthaps another doc would be more realistic and empathetic with your situation and assist you in obtaining SSD if this is where you think you should head....

    You have your Masters so this will give you some flexibility and 'edge" in nontraditional roles.....independent consulting ie legal nurse consulting is a flexible option for you as you would have your own business and be working with more 'paper' than people. Legal nurses can contract with law firms...the attorneys mail them the charts, and the nurse reviews it and then gives her opinions in writing to the language they can understand. Several of my coworkers do this as a home based job on the side....they enjoy it.

    I can imagine the stress of your repeated hospitalizations and infection must take it's toll on you and I can empathize; it takes a lot of energy away from us. Prednisone alone can cause such emotional turmoil and mood swings, I could not practice nursing on routine Prednisone because I have such adverse reactions to it...

    I kept working 2 years after my MVA and finally literally had to quit in exhaustion and depression with the chronic pain, aggravated by the stress of hospital nursing. The ESI's steroid component didn't help emotionally I'm sure!

    Anyway, sorry so long...your post touched my heart as I suspect it will many others in this forum. I've found some very kindhearted folks here and feel a lot of support...please post often and feel free to PM me anytime to vent or share!

    Take care of yourself, I will keep you in my prayers! Let's keep this thread going, as there are MANY of us who need to talk!
  9. by   workinurse@aol.
    Mario, Your ideas of fairness and ethical treatment of nurses do not fit the reality I have seen since '78.
    Sadly nurses in Northern California are viewed by hospital managment as overhead until over 50 or sick when you become a liability then if you file workers compensation or disability you become the enemy.
    The word "family" is spoken to your face in a group, but when you are the sick one, no longer to give 100% to your bedside job you are heckled, isolated, weeded out.
    Nurses do a good job caring for those they are PAID to care for, your fellow nurses and employers are NOT PAID to take care of YOU.
    Time will tell friend, we will see what you have to write then.
    I worked ICU
    78-96 and was abandoned by my 'family of workers" when I was disabled.
    Career bedside nursing too often ends in betrayal.
    B. Trayed
  10. by   jstinerich
    Thanks mattsmom85
    I went to vocational rehab here in the state. The head was excellent in my initial interview, but the person he assigned me to just blew me off. So, thank you very much for your suggestions of work I might be able to do.
    I would like to go back to school (maybe over the internet) to learn a job that I can do from home; however, that takes money, which I don't have.
    My allergist is an immunologist. I was thinking of paying for outside eval by some empathic docs. The SS people told me my case would have to be refused another time before it would get at the level which doesn't strictly go by the book - but can grant leeway in a case such as mine. Plus, did you know your allowed to earn I think it's about $800 a month after you're declared disabled/SS?
  11. by   mattsmom81
    Good luck to you in your SS Jstinerich, ...hope it goes well for you! I have heard stories of how the counselors can make or break your case; sounds like you had an unsympathetic one...sorry you had to deal with that on top of everything else. I have heard we have the right to request another more empathetic counselor if we feel we're being blown off....was I misinformed here or are laws different in different states I wonder?

    Will you be going before a judge this next time round? I've been following several folks on the SSD bulletin board as they struggle through the system...preparing myself mentally if this next surgery of mine doesn't go well. Some get their award first time, others have to go before the ALJ they tell me..and are successful there. I have heard through the grapevine on the SS BB that an attorney is essential when we get to that point, so I'm thinking ahead. There are several nurses in this forum who have shared that they are going through/gone through this SS process so maybe we can pick their brains too..

    Let us know how things go for you...and yes, that is good news we can still earn a little money on our own if we have to go on we can find something very part time to keep our minds busy! The trouble will be finding that 'perfect' job..part time, flexible, non physical, not too taxing or stressful, etc.....Maybe it isn't there but we keep on looking don't we... LOL!

    Take care!
  12. by   jstinerich
    No, Mattsmom 81, you are correct. You can request another counselor. After I get this paperwork for SS done again, I'll probably go look up the guy who first interviewed me. He told me to let me know if things didn't work out. But sometimes you just need some down time when you've run into an obstacle to regroup. Besides you cannot be considered for SS if your working even part-time. So I'm trying to make sure that I have money coming in before I take a job at which I may not be able to stay. However as stated before you can make a certain amount of money with part time work after your rewarded SS.:kiss :kiss :kiss
  13. by   NurseDennie
    Good luck with the SSD claims you guys. I don't know much about it personally, but that's what my hubby does for a living.

    It seems like a shame that people have to go through so much to get a pension, doesn't it? My hubby has warned me from the first day I went to nursing school that there are a greater proportion of nurses on back injury disability than population would warrant. I was careful, but still....

    The thing about disability claims that I've learned from hubby is the problem a LOT of the time is getting the doctor's office to send the right information on time. Everything is time-dependent and everything depends on the doc. That's not fair, either, if you ask me. My best friend hurt herself at work, and applied for disability through workers comp, and her neurologist after telling her "don't worry, we'll make it right for you." told the workers comp office that he didn't think her injury was work related!!!!! And this is a doc that she's had a professional relationship with!!!!!!!!

    Of course, you also run the risk of getting the claims examiner who thinks it's his personal mission to deny every claim he sees. The worst one of those that I've met has left the government and is working for a LOT more money for an insurance company, so you know how that is!

    Anyway, the lawyer might be expensive, but might be able to get the right information at the right time, and that might make it worth it.