tremendous back pain causing impairment

  1. Ok, been on new job in MSICU for about 1 1/2 months now and catching on to their charting system, who the dr's are, policies/procedures, ways they do things there, getting along with everybody. Most of their patients are on vents or are total cares for which these patients are turned every 2 hours. About half the time, we have only one tech on this 24 bed unit. I developed some back pain about 2 weeks ago as I have had occ. back pain as other nurses would occ. get. I put the old Ben-Gay or whatever on it a few days and the pain goes away. Well, this time it didn't. The 3rd night of my 3 in-a-row shifts last week I worked, I had this pt. on a vent weighing 180 lbs. It felt like I was moving around a car when the tech and I moved this patient. I even was commenting how huge and heavy this guy was. I didn't feel any snap-crackle-pop in my back or anything like that. I was just so amazed at 'how heavy this guy was' . My back pain got worse after that like a deep nagging ache that just wouldn't go away and I was constantly putting my Ben-Gay on it. 3 days later, on a Thursday early evening, I decide to go see my spouse's chiropractor about it. The guy took an x-ray. I got my results on Friday and he said I had a lumbar facet inflammation on 2 vertebrae and by this time, I'm hurting quite a bit, like a constant 3-4/10 pain constantly. I called work to ask the charge nurse if there was anyway I could get a couple lighter patients along with my explanation of why. He said he would do his best. I went to work Saturday night with my OTC back support and ice pack starting my shift with my 3-4/10 pain. The charge nurse inquires for which I explain my situation. She gets the director/manager on the phone and I explain to her the situation and told her the chiropractor told me the situation will resolve on its own but to take it easy, do my stretches, anti-inflammitories, and ice. She encouraged me to ask for help and be careful as I really didn't want to go home. I had a very manageable assignment. My pain level got worse but I thought I could handle it and do my job. I iced my back 4 hrs into the shift and it felt better for about 30min. then the pain started up again and kept going up. When the charge nurse was making rounds, she asked if I needed any help for which I declined at the time b/c I thought I was ok at that time and didn't need help which was before I realized I was slowing down walking/moving. But, by this time my patient who was on his right side started to desaturate for which I put him on his back sitting up. She came in the room and started helping. We got the pt. stabilized. I soon realize I had not been providing adequate care for this patient since I am now realizing with her asking me if this and that was done or checked. By this time, my pain was around a 6/10 and I figured out real quick that I had totally fallen behind on meds, monitoring, charting, paperwork, repositioning, everything. She helped me get caught up. I spoke to her afterwards and told her I don't ever give poor care like tonight and it could be from my back pain, that I can't concentrate. She didn't say much in response which I expected. About an hour or two later, my pain level climbs to about an 8 and I can't get comfortable standing/sitting, can't hardly chart my I/O, notes. Tears started coming and I decide to go get my ice pack. I go in the room and she and 2 other people are in there. Of course they're concerned and I told her I needed to go home when asked. After sitting there for about 10min. with my ice pack and brace on, my back started to feel a little better. I went back out finished up and went on home. Walking out to my car, I noticed my left leg was weaker than my right, like it wasn't able to move as fast in step. I have been a critical care nurse for over 10 years and have never even came close in providing this horrible of care to any patient. But, I feel like a blithering idiot who does not deserve to provide care to another patient. I know I will probably be written up and well deserved. I wouldn't even be surprised for them firing me for endangering a patient which I wouldn't blame them either. I am on a 3 month seasonal contract with this hospital and have 6 weeks to go. If I'm not fired, I just don't know how I could make it for 6 more weeks there without hurting myself again. I have always practiced good posture when lifting and did not have any back problems, just the occ. back strains. I am seeing my ortho dr. hopefully this week. I took off the next two days and being bored at home. I'll be calling her this morning to give her a heads up on my performance issues.
    Last edit by MollNick on May 23, '11
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    About MollNick

    Joined: May '11; Posts: 64; Likes: 26


  3. by   traumaRUs
    While we can't provide medical advice, I feel so bad for you. I have worked with some wonderful nurses who have had back injuries.

    Please take care of yourself.