Nurses watch your backs

Nurses General Nursing


In April of this year I injured my neck, shoulder, and back while assisting with restraining of a violent 25 year old psychotic ex-marine. The pain was great and for the first time in my 11 year nursing experience have I question whether I need to work in another profession. I guess what fuels this question mainly is the fact that I have not been allowed to return to work within my agency due to my treating physician recommending that I not be involved in the restraining or taking down of violent or psychotic clients. Also, I am getting a first hand look at the money that an injuried employee can cost a company and how diligently many groups can seemingly play tug of war. Case managers tell me that my injury should have been healed, Claims examiners tell me in so many words I am spending lots of money, My doctor graciously refers me to his friends, and finally the independent medical examiners ( hired guns for the employer) are cold, callous, and to this point biased. For anyone reading this just know that you body is more important than your job and that if you get seriously hurt you will be scrutinized, doubted, and you may

like find out how lonely life can be without work.

sorry to hear what happened to you. I do have to agree with the fact that our bodies are more important than our jobs. I love nursing in some ways and hate it in others. I have to admit I didn't enter this profession to be an angel of mercy. Sure we care about others but we have to remember ourselves. It's a cruel world like it or not.

Sorry Woody, that you are finding out firsthand what it is like to have work-related injury these days. Really sucks how our system is, doesn't it. Personally I think I might have a nervous breakdown if I had to deal with the people you have been seeing. I know exactly what you are talking about, the frustration is unbelieveable. Unfortunately, shoulder, back and neck injuries take TIME to heal, and do so at different paces. And, it is well known that if you go back to work too soon, you can re-injure yourself easily. So anyway, you have my sympathy, for what its worth.

A woman I choose to call a friend, tripped over a scale, bumping her calf. Not hard, not bad, she went about her work once her fellow workers had finished fussing over her.

She was just settling into being a mother to her 2 adopted children (formally her nieces)

since she was not hurt she did not fill out an incident.

She went to the ER 2 days later for a red hot area on her same injured calf.

They told her it was in her head.

3 days after that she was found, by her new kids, dead on her bed at home, half dressed.

It apeared to be a PE.

The company that owns the facilety is not required to do more than let them have the basic life insurance.

you see, she never filled out an incindent report.

It might take 5 min, but what if.....


*** May we all have the serenity to accept what we cannot change, and the determination to change what we cannot accept. ***

[This message has been edited by ecb (edited October 11, 1999).]

Sorry about what happened to you and the thousands like you Woody. Even more sorry that we can't take better care of our own.

Woody, I am sorry to hear how stressful your recovery has become. There are a few things that you can do to help with the recovery and deal with the workers' comp. case managers and providers.

If you haven't, get hold of a copy of your entire chart and all bills generated on your behalf. Then locate a copy of the Official Disability Guidelines(ODG). ODG compiles statistical information reported to OSHA and other Federal agencies by ICD code. The information includes lost days from work, length of disability, and length of hospital stay. These numbers are real people who have sustain an injury or illness. Audit your records to see if all diagnoses are coded correctly and have been communicated to the workers comp. insurer.

Next, if you haven't received a good functional capacity evaluation (FEC) and job analysis get one. I would suggest that the FEC is done by a good occupational physical therapy group. Then I would challenge your employer's inability to provide temporary light duty until maximum medical improvement has occurred. Studies on occupational back injuries demonstrate better outcomes with early return to work at appropriate functional capacity.

If there has not been significant improvement after 6 months then something may be missed. When my professional clients continue to have little improvement after 6 months with any back or joint pain I get aggressive about finding out if there is an underlying condition that has not been discovered. Specifically they are referred to endocrinologist and rheumatologist. All of my clients who do not have symptom magnification on FCE and have little improvement after 6 months almost always have an underlying health condition. I have seen things as simple as thyroid dysfunction, RA, Chronic Lyme Disease to metastasized lung cancer and Takaysu's arteritis. If you do not have a good Primary Care Provider, get one.

Short-sighted workers' comp. insurer would prefer the underlying condition not be identified because of potential additional cost. An employer who has a really clear understanding of the bottom line realizes that returning a trained employee to the workplace, regardless of how a health issue is controlled, is more valuable then one who is out.

If there continues to be no improvement then it is time to look at whether the injury should be considered permanent and covered by the Americans With Disability Act. Anyone in a high risk profession, like Nursing, should have short term and long term disability insurance to help with the income replacement if an illness or injury should leave them unable to work for more then a few weeks.

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