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Leave of Absence?

Nurses   (360 Views | 9 Replies)

LibraNurse27 has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

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Hi all, has anyone taken a leave of absence from work and come back? My hospital has an option to do this. An employee can request up to 12 weeks of leave for any reason, even just to take a mental health break. At first they use your accruals and then unpaid.

As I mentioned in other posts I have bipolar disorder. It is well managed with support groups, therapy and meds. Right now no support groups due to covid. Some older coworkers retired early when covid hit. Some are off because they are high risk, others to care for kids. We try not to assign covid pts to older nurses, those at high risk due to health conditions, nurses who have had chemo, those with young kids or elderly/high risk people at home and pregnant nurses.

That leaves me and a few others to do covid all the time. I understand and don't mind but it is scary to be constantly exposed. That's not what makes me want to leave though. After 4 yrs I'm burned out on seeing sad cases everyday; young pts dying because their bodies are ruined due to substance abuse, the effects of poverty on health, large men in alcohol withdrawal screaming and hitting us, IVs and foleys on violent patients, verbal abuse from patients, etc. All of this plus the isolation we are all facing has taken a toll on my mental health.

I am starting to have symptoms I haven't had since I got treatment: severe depression, mania (without psychosis), seeing things that aren't there, suicidal ideation. All of this is in my personal life, never at work. I think I could get FMLA from my psychiatrist or take the personal leave but I am scared it will affect my job, especially if I admit to the mental health part. Anyone done this or have advice? Thanks so much and sorry for the depressing post.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg.

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I am sorry you are going through tough times. I have taken a leave of absence and also used FMLA. If you qualify and use FMLA the workplace is supposed to guarantee your job (but of course we know there is always ways around this). You can use FMLA for either a acute or chronic illness and I dont think the MD needs to put any diagnosis on it (not sure though but you can look at the paperwork). There is no way to know what your employer will do but IMO it would be more difficult for them to not hold your position if you are on FMLA (vs leave of absence). And, if you use FMLA you can either take time all at once or as you go (ie you can call is sick here and there and your employer cannot call it a "sick" day for disciplinary reasons). 

 With the symptoms you describe I would seek help right away. Maybe in addition to your Doctor you could use a hotline to help process some of the feelings and situations you have been through and are going through. Please take care of yourself!!

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I’ve used FMLA several times.  Just a thought, but see about intermittent FMLA.  That allows you to take days as you need them.  
 

I’ve used it for the birth of my children, and then an injury.  Not work related but I needed to use it for diagnosis and then for the surgery a year and a half later.  
 

We have an outside company that deals with FMLA and short term disability.  I would look into it.

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pixierose has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ED, psych.

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Oh, so many (((hugs))). I also have bipolar disorder, and thus the COVID pandemic ... and the loss, the constant loss (not to mention my other patients ... the detoxing patients trying to leave, my dementia patients trying and kicking my *** ...) oh, I could have written your post. 

I called out yesterday for the first time in a very long time. I just needed the sleep.

FMLA, then treatment - STAT. It’s the suicidal ideation that scares me here. It will not affect your job; (a.), it’s no ones business, but (b.) this seems to be a unique time with this pandemic, where everyone is really not doing well. I’ve seen so many people take FMLA. Why? Because this pandemic is kicking a lot of people’s asses, and we HCW’s are directly staring down its ugly face. You are so not alone.

You need to take care of you before you can take care if others. No shame in that. This bipolar RN supports you 1000%.

Keep posting so we know you’re OK.

 

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LibraNurse27 has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

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11 hours ago, pixierose said:

Oh, so many (((hugs))). I also have bipolar disorder, and thus the COVID pandemic ... and the loss, the constant loss (not to mention my other patients ... the detoxing patients trying to leave, my dementia patients trying and kicking my *** ...) oh, I could have written your post. 

I called out yesterday for the first time in a very long time. I just needed the sleep.

FMLA, then treatment - STAT. It’s the suicidal ideation that scares me here. It will not affect your job; (a.), it’s no ones business, but (b.) this seems to be a unique time with this pandemic, where everyone is really not doing well. I’ve seen so many people take FMLA. Why? Because this pandemic is kicking a lot of people’s asses, and we HCW’s are directly staring down its ugly face. You are so not alone.

You need to take care of you before you can take care if others. No shame in that. This bipolar RN supports you 1000%.

Keep posting so we know you’re OK.

 

Aww thank you so much! I'm glad you let yourself have a day off. I do feel bad taking time off because one by one those of us who have been doing covid all the time are calling in sick or taking leave. A couple nurses ended up in ER after spending all day in PPE in a sick ICU pt's room. Short of breath, dizzy, overheated... OMG. My doctor said no to FMLA and just told me to increase my medication =( Basically... suck it up! LOL guess we have to persevere and call in when needed to do an excellent job when we go in. Thanks so much for the hope and encouragement, and good luck to you too! Stay strong

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LovingPeds has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics; Maternal-Child Nursing Education.

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On 5/28/2020 at 4:43 PM, LibraNurse27 said:

Hi all, has anyone taken a leave of absence from work and come back? My hospital has an option to do this. An employee can request up to 12 weeks of leave for any reason, even just to take a mental health break. At first they use your accruals and then unpaid.

As I mentioned in other posts I have bipolar disorder. It is well managed with support groups, therapy and meds. Right now no support groups due to covid. Some older coworkers retired early when covid hit. Some are off because they are high risk, others to care for kids. We try not to assign covid pts to older nurses, those at high risk due to health conditions, nurses who have had chemo, those with young kids or elderly/high risk people at home and pregnant nurses.

That leaves me and a few others to do covid all the time. I understand and don't mind but it is scary to be constantly exposed. That's not what makes me want to leave though. After 4 yrs I'm burned out on seeing sad cases everyday; young pts dying because their bodies are ruined due to substance abuse, the effects of poverty on health, large men in alcohol withdrawal screaming and hitting us, IVs and foleys on violent patients, verbal abuse from patients, etc. All of this plus the isolation we are all facing has taken a toll on my mental health.

I am starting to have symptoms I haven't had since I got treatment: severe depression, mania (without psychosis), seeing things that aren't there, suicidal ideation. All of this is in my personal life, never at work. I think I could get FMLA from my psychiatrist or take the personal leave but I am scared it will affect my job, especially if I admit to the mental health part. Anyone done this or have advice? Thanks so much and sorry for the depressing post.

I am also Bipolar. I took FLMA for several weeks after the death of a family member because my symptoms were increasing due to situational grief and stress. I also had suicidal ideation at that time. My coworkers were aware. My employer was supportive. I returned to work without issue.

I have never hidden my diagnosis from my employers or the board of nursing. I don't shout it from the rooftops, but I wrote it each year on the employee health forms and on the one and only health form I completed for my current employer. It has never affected my career.

15 minutes ago, LibraNurse27 said:

My doctor said no to FMLA and just told me to increase my medication =( Basically... suck it up! LOL guess we have to persevere and call in when needed to do an excellent job when we go in.

If your doctor refused to fill out FMLA when you're experiencing some of the symptoms you're reporting, you might want to get a second opinion. If you are experiencing those symptoms even just home, the question can raised as to whether you are currently sound enough to be working. I don't mean that to be harsh, but any manic symptoms, hallucinations, and suicidal ideation creates the potential for compromised patient safety.

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pixierose has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ED, psych.

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11 hours ago, LibraNurse27 said:

Aww thank you so much! I'm glad you let yourself have a day off. I do feel bad taking time off because one by one those of us who have been doing covid all the time are calling in sick or taking leave. A couple nurses ended up in ER after spending all day in PPE in a sick ICU pt's room. Short of breath, dizzy, overheated... OMG. My doctor said no to FMLA and just told me to increase my medication =( Basically... suck it up! LOL guess we have to persevere and call in when needed to do an excellent job when we go in. Thanks so much for the hope and encouragement, and good luck to you too! Stay strong

What, what? Your doctor told you no?!

NO - that’s BS. 

Look, I also have MS and cancer and could get FMLA for those in a heartbeat by a doc. But, I’m more wary about my mood - it’s the depression that I’m most worried about and thus keeping a firm eye on. I’ve taken FMLA before for it (while in a different field) and my doctor was shocked I didn’t ask sooner - I was a mess (depressed but manic, so in a very mixed state ... not sleeping, hallucinating and suicidal). 

Our jobs can, and are, challenging to an emotional and physical degree that we haven’t seen before. The PPE alone ... there are days I don’t eat, drink or pee for most of my 12 hour shift while in that sick patients room. You NEED to take care of yourself, and can increase those medications ... at home while on a leave. Don’t feel badly - you might break apart if you don’t. 
Second opinion - was this your psychiatrist?

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LibraNurse27 has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

1 Follower; 324 Posts; 3,516 Profile Views

5 hours ago, pixierose said:

What, what? Your doctor told you no?!

NO - that’s BS. 

Look, I also have MS and cancer and could get FMLA for those in a heartbeat by a doc. But, I’m more wary about my mood - it’s the depression that I’m most worried about and thus keeping a firm eye on. I’ve taken FMLA before for it (while in a different field) and my doctor was shocked I didn’t ask sooner - I was a mess (depressed but manic, so in a very mixed state ... not sleeping, hallucinating and suicidal). 

Our jobs can, and are, challenging to an emotional and physical degree that we haven’t seen before. The PPE alone ... there are days I don’t eat, drink or pee for most of my 12 hour shift while in that sick patients room. You NEED to take care of yourself, and can increase those medications ... at home while on a leave. Don’t feel badly - you might break apart if you don’t. 
Second opinion - was this your psychiatrist?

OMG I am so sorry you are going through all of those things at the same time. It says a lot that you are most worried about bipolar out of the three, because those are two serious conditions. And I can't believe you are in a pt's room for 12 hrs! I work 8 hr shifts and that already seems too much. Will you be taking FMLA now? I will keep you in my thoughts.

Yes, my psychiatrist. I think many people, even doctors don't understand how debilitating it can be since many with bipolar are high functioning. But with the high suicide rate and people being hospitalized for manic episodes I hope they will.

I wrote a collection of short stories about my experience and others' experience that was picked up by a publisher and comes out next month. I don't think I can post the link on this site because it might look like advertising, although the goal is not to make profit, only to spread awareness and compassion. Maybe the moderators can let me know. Any profits donated to NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness). Pixierose if you want to PM me at any time for support please do!

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pixierose has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ED, psych.

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45 minutes ago, LibraNurse27 said:

OMG I am so sorry you are going through all of those things at the same time. It says a lot that you are most worried about bipolar out of the three, because those are two serious conditions. And I can't believe you are in a pt's room for 12 hrs! I work 8 hr shifts and that already seems too much. Will you be taking FMLA now? I will keep you in my thoughts.

Yes, my psychiatrist. I think many people, even doctors don't understand how debilitating it can be since many with bipolar are high functioning. But with the high suicide rate and people being hospitalized for manic episodes I hope they will.

I wrote a collection of short stories about my experience and others' experience that was picked up by a publisher and comes out next month. I don't think I can post the link on this site because it might look like advertising, although the goal is not to make profit, only to spread awareness and compassion. Maybe the moderators can let me know. Any profits donated to NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness). Pixierose if you want to PM me at any time for support please do!

No FMLA yet. I’m doing OK, and have a strong support system. I work with incredible people, and my NM’s are fantastic (my ED, and now my COVID floor). My husband, he’s amazing. My in laws, unfortunately, are covidiots ... so they are no longer in our lives. Believe that they shouldn’t have to wear masks, that I should be hiding away forever because it’s time to open up and be “normal” again.

I only ever felt unsafe with them. I like to think I’m doing a good thing, bringing solace to people who are scared and lonely, bringing my best care, and I feel protected. Truly. Sometimes it gets too much, and I took that one day off. I feel loads better now - it was and is gorgeous outside, I spent time with my family (and my dogs), I took a long walk and ate ice cream. I slept! I wore a sun dress! And I signed up to volunteer for Biden’s campaign here in my state, so something different to look forward to.

That episode way back then though - it scares me enough that I’d take FMLA again in a heartbeat. You have my support, and my worry - my constant worry. You sound strong. But I remember that nightmare, vividly. 

I would love to see those short stories. PM me - I’d love to read them.

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LibraNurse27 has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

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covidiots! LOL! We have a lot here at the beach in Cali... no masks, sharing beers, hugging and swimming together =(

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