Returning to Work After COVID

Updated | Posted
by SilverBells SilverBells, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience.

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With the COVID pandemic still ever present, as nurses some of us might be required to take time off to recover along with not spreading the illness to others.  

However, returning to work is a different experience for each of us.  For some, we can return right away without difficulties. For others, the return is more difficult. 

Right now, I'm in the middle of battling COVID myself.   I'm due to go back to work next Monday.   Unfortunately, my body isn't cooperating with me.  I am not sure I will be ready to go back to work next week.  I feel as if my body has given up.  It's as if it's fed up with constant stress and ready to be done.  However,  I'm still trying to prepare to go back to work next week and wondering what the best things to do are.

Who else has returned to work after battling COVID? What did you do that enabled you to be successful? 

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 973 Posts

Also, what struggles did you have initially and how did you overcome them?

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 973 Posts

I will say that there were a couple of instances where I regretted all of those Diet Pepsi's and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups I've had over the past couple of years.  I might have gotten sick anyway, but I'm sure that the fact that my heart was constantly under stress has made recovery more difficult.  

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 9,896 Posts

Please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please look after yourself first and foremost, my dear SilverBells!

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,949 Posts

Listen to your body. Go back when you are physically ready. And take better care of yourself. I wish you well.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,292 Posts

Short term disability often starts after 14th day of illness ---hope you are paying for such a plan, look into its benefits. Article  I read today showing post Covid illness, 20% adults developing long term covid symptoms.  Please take care. consult with your PCP for script showing not ready to return.

Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18–64 and ≥65 Years — United States, March 2020–November 2021

Quote

COVID-19 survivors have twice the risk for developing pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions; one in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18–64 years and one in four survivors aged ≥65 years experienced at least one incident condition that might be attributable to previous COVID-19.

 

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 973 Posts

I miss feeling well enough to work 18-21 hour shifts...😰

FashionablyL8

FashionablyL8, CNA, LPN

Has 1 years experience. 141 Posts

Sorry you are not feeling well, SilverBells. COVID can be rough, even without serious complications. I had it over the Winter and even after recovering from the respiratory sx, I just felt exhausted. Like barely able to get off the couch exhausted. I only stayed out of work at my main job for the required 5 days since I was fairly new and didn't want to cause issues. However, I would have loved to stay home for at least another week. I also believe it lowered my immune system because I got bronchitis in April. I normally don't get more than a mild cold no matter what I'm exposed to.

Anyway, I just went back to work and spent almost every moment I was not working resting on my couch until I felt alive again.

I think you should stay out for as long as you need to feel better. Easier said than done, but it sounds like your job gets WAY too much from you. I truly believe that life is too short to put everything we have into our careers. I don't think most people ever say, "You know, I wish I had worked more over the years and spent less time doing things I enjoyed." It's the other way around. This may be a good time to set some limits on how much you will do for your employer. Remember that we are replacable to them and take of yourself first. 

Oh yeah- I tend to live on ice cream and Red Bulls- comparable to your Reese's and diet Pepsi 😁. Since I got COVID and bronchitis, I've made an effort to incorporate some healthy food in there and I do feel a little better. My stomach isn't as upset as it normally is and I have more energy. I'm just doing easy stuff that I can take to work, like cottage cheese and fruit, veggies and dip, string cheese, yogurt with strawberries and granola. 

Hope you feel better soon and please take the time you need to recover from this!

 

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 973 Posts

Turns out I now have bronchitis and a "very angry pleural sac."  So, it will probably be a very long time before I can work 18-21 hours again.  It may never happen.  Heck, I don't know if I'll even be able to go back for 8 hours next week.  We'll see.  Getting some meds on board, along with no caffeinated beverages and no junk food and hopefully this will bring me back up to speed.  

One concern I do have is if I would be strong enough to perform CPR on a patient if needed. 

FashionablyL8

FashionablyL8, CNA, LPN

Has 1 years experience. 141 Posts

No wonder you feel terrible! You definitely need to rest and take care of yourself. It would be great if you could get a HCP note saying that you will be out of work until cleared to go back at a follow-up appt. That way you won't feel as pressured to return to work until you're ready. I imagine that if your employer expects you to do the work of several people and routinely work 18+ hr days, their main focus will be on getting you back to work and not on your health and wellbeing 🙄.

I do tend to think that you needed a break even before you got COVID. I'm very much into work-life balance and setting limits with employers, and honestly can't imagine dedicating that amount of time and energy to any job. I would try to put work and patients out of your mind for a few days at least. Just rest, sleep when you want and order good stuff to eat and drink, watch TV or read or whatever you like to do. Hopefully you'll start to feel well enough to enjoy this rare time off a bit. 

 

SilverBells, BSN

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience. 973 Posts

Today I was going to try and return back to work as my isolation period is done along with my bronchitis treatments.  When I woke up, I was very weak and fatigued.  Unfortunately, it was not possible to go in.  I ended up going into the doctor due to dizziness and weakness, and found out nothing other than likely side effects of COVID.   I am starting to get very angry and frustrated.  Working extra hard, long hours is the one thing in life I do well at and COVID is taking it away from me.  It has been 13 days since I tested positive.  It is time to be up to speed and back into the swing of things, but my body won't allow it.  I miss the days when my biggest concern was which unit had the most staff members...

 

Crystal-Wings, LVN

Specializes in LTC. 386 Posts

Today was my first day back after almost 2 weeks off from work. I have no choice but to go back to work as my bills aren’t going to pay themselves and I alone support myself financially. It sucks but unless you have an alternative way of making money then you’ll just have to suck it up.