Medically restricted from night shift?

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published

Specializes in Pediatrics, ER.

Has anyone ever had a medical restriction put on them for working nights? Due to falling asleep on the drive home every morning after working nights, and increased arrthymias (congenital heart condition) my cardiologist restricted me from working nights, complete with a note, and strongly recommended I find a new job. I work in Boston and there is a huge glut here. I am not going to be able to find a job that is strictly dayshift. I have to sit down with my manager Monday and talk to her about it. I'm required to rotate day/night and I have no idea what's going to happen when I tell her I about this. I assume I'm going to have to find another job. Has this happened to anyone before? What was the outcome? I'm concerned she's going to think I'm making this up to get out of working nights (which I actually like working) and will just cut me loose because it could start a trend of people coming in with a doctor's note to get out of working nights. I'm so bummed. I really love my job.

1 Votes
Specializes in Tele, ICU, ED, Nurse Instructor,.

I believe night shift can harm a person body. I work nights and days. Sometimes I have problems sleeping but that is minor. I work in a hospital setting at night mostly 12 hour shifts. I work as a nursing instructor during the day. I just live around my work instead my work lives around may. I have to make a living the best way I know how.

If your heart doctor explain to you the disadvantages of working nights for you. If there is more cons than pros. I would think it would be time to make a change. I know it is easier said than done. I ahve heard people say working night shift takes 10 years off your life. I dont know how true it is. I work nights because I am not married and no children at this time. I am in a relationship and he works days. Since we work opposite shift this would allow us time apart, in which it is healthy.

I would just sit down with your manager and explain the situation. If you are full time they can not fire you because of a health situation. They need to find a position for you. You may have to transfer to a different department. I hope everything works out for you. Keep us posted.

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Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,.

yes, i had a "no nights" restriction before, which eventually was switched to a "no rotating shifts" restriction when i switched to working 12 hour shifts. i never had a seizure as long as my schedule

never varied from 7-3 and/or3-11. the real problem began when i was forced to work 2 weeks of 7-3,

then 2 weeks of 3-11, then rotate to 2 weeks of 11-7 with no break.

i got a note from my neurologist and when the don remained unyielding, the neuro himself paid her a visit, and she backed right down. i eventually discovered when i switched to 12 hour shifts that i could work nights or days, but never both, so my note was rewritten. i worked 8-8 nights usually.

the few times someone made a crack about my never rotating shifts, i just referred them to the don and that ended it. i just decided that my friends knew why as did the admin.

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See if you can find another person on your unit that would be willing to work straight nights. That would accomodate the rotating.

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Specializes in Family Practice, Mental Health.

There are plenty of people who work nights because of the increased wages on nights, as well as just plain liking the different atmosphere that is unique to night shift. I know of an RN at a hospital that actually got a Dr.'s note to get off of night shift for health reasons. Management allowed the RN to switch to a posted shift that was available on either days or PM's (can't remember which).

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Specializes in med surg ltc psych.

I too was medically restricted from working 11p-7a after I started having physiological symptoms at work, and darn near caused a 5 car pile up driving home one morning. My nurse manager and house supervisor were unyeilding in putting me back on to a 3-11 even when there was a opening and they needed a nurse asap. My doctor wrote the statement advising I was under his care and was his recomendation to not do night shift (my ANA titer was severely positive and he feels certain it is Lupus and refered to rheumatologist) And they still wouldn't honor it. My only choice in the matter was to voluntarily resign a job I loved, or eventually end up in a hospital. I was not ever written up or had any poor work performance issues. The night shift was exacerbating an underlying health problem that can be managed far better as long as I'm not on the noc shift. Why are they so unaccomidating to employees who have medical proof validated by a physician? :mad:

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I believe there's a law about documented disabilities and acceptable measures having to be made for them so employees can continue to work. If you are fired for something seemingly unrelated (you called in sick one too many times)and its fishy you can still sue assuming you can fight it and say they're just trying to get around the obvious(the don't want to put up handcap ramps for you or let you work the day shift). It's done all the time. Of course, here in TX that doesn't seem to matter but everywhere else you're golden. =)

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RN4WeeOnes said:
Has this happened to anyone before? What was the outcome? I'm concerned she's going to think I'm making this up to get out of working nights (which I actually like working) and will just cut me loose because it could start a trend of people coming in with a doctor's note to get out of working nights. I'm so bummed. I really love my job.

I've been following your story since your last thread about having difficulty staying awake, and I'm glad that you've gotten some medical answers. As I mentioned in that thread, my manager allowed me to switch to strictly days on what should've been a rotating position because of migraines. Cardiac arrhythmia > migraines in my opinion. ?

If she has a problem with this, ask her if it would be okay as long as you can find someone who's willing to work your night shifts. A PP mentioned that a lot of people prefer straight nights, and that's definitely true. I hope so much for your sake that you can get this worked out. I hate to see your manager throw away a good nurse because of this. Good luck to you, and PLEASE keep us all updated.

1 Votes
Specializes in Pediatrics, ER.

I can safely say everyone who wants permanent nights is on them already. There isn't one person on rotating shifts who likes working nights, and try constantly try toget staff to switch so the majority of their shifts are days.

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Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,.

You could try a FMLA which protects you from calling out due to a medical illness. I have it. I've had to use it to protect myself from mandatory OT when my health was at it's poorest and the required shifts were almost too much.

Having a union may or may not help you, but it gives you a better fighting chance to transfer internally.

My brief stint in management exp. taught me to do everything possible for your employees, but this just may not be possible for your boss to do for reasons you've stated.

As much as I hate to say it... you can't nurse and bring home a paycheck if you're unhealthy and sick because you love where you are. We've lost some great nurses whom found out that a 2 year day wait list would NOT work with their health and home life. That day/night rhythm really wreaks havock on your immune system and your heart.

I'm sorry to say, you may need to start with a part time job somewhere and add a second part time one until you find something in a tough job market. At least you'll get your foot in the door.

Above all, take care of you, you can't work sick.... and a temporary part time job that brings home some money... while you have your health intact is golden. The rest will work itself out, just not all at once as we'd like it to.

1 Votes

I just had an episode on Thursday that put me into the hospital. Luckily, I was able to negotiate night shift instead of day shift with my employer, otherwise I don't think I could have dealt with another long period of unemployment. In the future, I will just be very careful to try to stay on night shift as much as possible.

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Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

You might want to talk with an attorney about this. Find out what your legal status is in your state. (And it may differ from state to state.)

In the meantime ... if you need to work out a compromise while you sort things out ... maybe you can negotiate a part time position which would "free up" a partial FTE for your boss to hire another part time person to cover your nights. It might be that the only way she can move you to straight days is to force other people to move from days to nights -- and that's not fair to them. By offering to switch part time, you give her the ability to hire someone who wants to fill your nighttime hours. From what I hear of the job market in your area, she should have no problem finding someone to fill that part time night position.

Such a compromise might "buy you time" to talk with an attorney and/or find a day job. On the other hand, voluntarily switching to part time work might make it impossible for you to demand a full time day job later. So be careful about how things are documented, etc. Make it clear that you are requesting a full time day job -- and only settling for part time to avoid being fired. (And get everything in writing.)

I would also be exploring the FMLA options -- again ... at least as a temporary measure until you can talk to an attorney.

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