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What do I do about PRN job during COVID? Quit or be let go?

Disasters   (590 Views | 7 Replies)
by joansmith1 joansmith1 (New) New Nurse

joansmith1 has 7 years experience .

429 Profile Views; 12 Posts

I'm a PRN RN and haven't worked in over two months d/t COVID. My supervisor has informed me I can sign up for some shifts since things are slowly picking up. I would have to wear a mask for my entire 12-hour shift. No idea how long my hospital will require mandatory masks. I cannot tolerate a mask for more than a minute or two before I'm very SOB. This level of intolerance for masks is fairly new. I have no known respiratory issues but have a hx of arrhythmia and very worried about triggering that. So as of now I cannot physically work 12-hours with a mask on. I will have to speak to my sup about this issue despite not wanting to discuss my private medical hx with her. 

If it comes down to it, should I quit or let them terminate me? If I quit, I'm worried that would mess with the unemployment I'm able to receive right now. If I let them terminate me, how will a termination affect my future jobs? I've never been let go from an RN job and have always had been in good standing with previous employers. Thanks for all feedback. 

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lifelearningrn has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

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Can you get your MD to excuse you to stay home until the mask situation has subsided?

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joansmith1 has 7 years experience.

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lifelearnignrn, I'm sure I could but not sure how quickly/easily that would happen right now. And with me being PRN, I'm just not sure of what type of accommodation they are going to give me. However I am VERY hesitant about having a Dr's note for anything. I do not want there to be any issues with returning to work nor do I want this to interfere with my unemployment. If I can't work d/t a medical issue, am I going to be forced down some rabbit hole of disability or something similar? 

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lifelearningrn has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

2,385 Posts; 25,088 Profile Views

3 minutes ago, joansmith1 said:

lifelearnignrn, I'm sure I could but not sure how quickly/easily that would happen right now. And with me being PRN, I'm just not sure of what type of accommodation they are going to give me. However I am VERY hesitant about having a Dr's note for anything. I do not want there to be any issues with returning to work nor do I want this to interfere with my unemployment. If I can't work d/t a medical issue, am I going to be forced down some rabbit hole of disability or something similar? 

I don't know.  Your intolerance for the mask, is it maybe anxiety? I'm not sure there is a straight forward solution for you right now..   I personally would think it best to resign rather than be fired. Either solution will likely end your unemployment. 

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

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Maybe you could work a shift and see how it goes. The last hospital I worked at had this policy also if you didn't receive the flu vacc. It wasnt like you actually wore the mask 12hrs straight. There were times you could pull the mask down and breath normally. Not sure how that would work now but it may be tolerable and worth a try.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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On 5/14/2020 at 8:09 AM, joansmith1 said:

I'm a PRN RN and haven't worked in over two months d/t COVID. My supervisor has informed me I can sign up for some shifts since things are slowly picking up. I would have to wear a mask for my entire 12-hour shift. No idea how long my hospital will require mandatory masks. I cannot tolerate a mask for more than a minute or two before I'm very SOB. This level of intolerance for masks is fairly new. I have no known respiratory issues but have a hx of arrhythmia and very worried about triggering that. So as of now I cannot physically work 12-hours with a mask on. I will have to speak to my sup about this issue despite not wanting to discuss my private medical hx with her. 

If it comes down to it, should I quit or let them terminate me? If I quit, I'm worried that would mess with the unemployment I'm able to receive right now. If I let them terminate me, how will a termination affect my future jobs? I've never been let go from an RN job and have always had been in good standing with previous employers. Thanks for all feedback. 

A sudden intolerance of masks sounds odd, and maybe even suspect. It's not something I would bring up to a supervisor, even if I did decide to quit.

I do hate the things, for the record.

If I were in your position and trying to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish, I would probably sign up for the minimum number of required shifts on the days I'm least likely to be needed. Things are still extremely slow in a lot of places, and being willing to work might be enough for the time being.

And like someone else suggested, try is and see how it goes if you are needed.

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barcode120x has 5 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in Telemetry.

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On 5/14/2020 at 8:27 AM, lifelearningrn said:

I don't know.  Your intolerance for the mask, is it maybe anxiety? I'm not sure there is a straight forward solution for you right now..   I personally would think it best to resign rather than be fired. Either solution will likely end your unemployment. 

I second this. Based on your profile, it says you have 7 years of experience, so I'm going to assume that's for nursing or nursing related. I find it hard to believe in your career of 7 years that you can't tolerate being a mask for more than 2 minutes. Unless all this RN experience is non-bedside experience (which I doubt it is because in your OP it seems you've been on this floor/hospital for awhile), I'm sure you've had to taken care of at least one R/O airborne/droplet (TB, meningitis, and most common, flu) patient in the past where you have had to wear a mask. Don't get me started on patients with a history of MRSA of the nares.

Does this also mean during the initial month of the stay-at-home orders when you were wearing cloth masks (or whatever you've had at your disposal) when you went outside for food, grocery, drive-thru, etc that you couldn't tolerate it for more than 2 minutes?

Instead of quitting or finding an excuse, maybe figure out what the cause is. As the person I quoted, maybe you're developing some sort of anxiety due to the covid crisis? I'll be honest, I was pretty apprehensive whenever I went to work the first few weeks of the initial crisis.

A history of an "arrhythmia" shouldn't be affected by by wearing a mask for a few minutes. I'll be honest, it is tough respiratory wise to wear an N95 mask for more than 10 minutes, but I doubt your hospital is requiring the N95 mask the entire shift. I would understand ANY mask. Maybe find clarification on what masks are required by your hospital. Also, is it "required" or is it "preferential" by your hospital/floor/unit/management? 

Edited by barcode120x

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NurseRatchett2 has 2 years experience and specializes in LPN.

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I worked on a covid unit and wore the N95 for 12 hrs minimum. I learned quickly that a 10 minute break every hour is necessary to prevent CO2 build up in the lungs..anyhow, it was very difficult.

I grabbed a breath of fresh air every chance I got. I also want to say, some of my difficulties could have been r/t anxiety too. I was sooo glad my shift ended after 10 days. 

Those who act as though there is no big deal in wearing masks should check out the nurses who are in the hospital for carbon dioxide poisoning and irregularities in their heart...that's about a 3 day hospital stay...I'm thinking they were of great health prior...just saying and a New York physician who wore one for 30 minutes walked out of his job. 

These masks are not for the faint of heart. Follow your own path. Apparently in health care the only one who advocates for you is YOU.

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