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Need return-to-work advice

  • seabee
  • 2 years ago

Hello everyone - I work as a nurse in a busy intensive care unit.  My shifts are 12 hours long and require a lot of standing and walking.  Frequently I work 2 or 3 shifts consecutively.  I do occasionally need to lift heavy items such as portable monitors, IV pumps, or "boost" and turn patients in their beds.    Does anyone have any insight as to how long I should expect to recover before I can comfortably and safely return to work?  I am in pretty good shape now, exercise regularly and do primarily strength training.  I just don't want to be stressed out about returning to work before I am ready.  I am also thinking of waiting to get the surgery until I return to school a little over a year from now and just quit my job a little sooner than I would otherwise.   Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Comments (9)

Hi seabea!! I am also a nurse in the ER. I was planning on returning to Work at 4 weeks but since have decided to wait until 6 weeks. I underestimated my level of discomfort after being on my feet for long period of time... Not to mention the swelling!! I too was in decent shape prior to surgery. I weighed 125 lbs at 5 ft 3"... I am a runner with a 5 and 3 yr old. I had 2 csections prior to my tt, and after each I was doing laundry on day 2 post op. I thought I had a realistic grasp On this surgery... But I was wrong! It is a major invasive surgery... More than I thought! Plan to take as much time as you can and if you go back earlier it is a bonus. We have a back to work program with my job so i can't go back to regular duties anyway but I will be taking my time before I am nursing to full capacity!!!! You may be thinking... " ya but I can handle pain well etc etc" it isn't even the pain... You have meds for that!! It is the swelling, fatigue, risk Of injury and the uncertainty of how you will heal. Take the time...we nurses tend to not look out for our own well being... Trust me you won't regret it!
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Hello! I'm a post partum/women/med surge nurse, I took 5 wks personal LOA I don't lift or turn pts since they are pretty much stable & independent BUT I push the baby's cribs that are made of heavy solid wood plus my babies range from 4-10 lbs and of course the crazy walking when all my pts call at the same time, it was hard when I returned back to work but my coworkers helped me a lot ,plus I work the graveyard which is less crazy but still busy ...the more you walk the more swollen you get, since you are in ICU u would say wait as you are planning because it would not be fun or worth to jeopardize your results because if work this is a HUGE surgery that requires a lot of rest....
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I do weight training as well. I'm 20 days out and there's no way I'd volunteer to be lifting things now, even with my ability to lift heavy things. I'd feel like I was tearing my midsection out. FWIW
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Seabee, I am also a Nurse. I did Tabata classes twice a week and strength training twice a week prior to my TT. When I went back to work after about three weeks I was very tired and sore. I can't imagine doing 12 hours. It is more exhausting than you think. I thought I was in pretty good shape before but going back whipped my butt! I am not in the ICU but very busy all day long. Good luck with your decision and don't underestimate the recovery time needed to feel normal and energetic again.
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I'm an RT. I am almost 7 mo. post op and I would not have even considered going back before 6 weeks. No way I could have pushed vents or moved patients; not to mention worked my 12 hour shift that usually turns into 14 or 15. A coworker tried to come back at 3 weeks after a TT and ended up hurting herself and getting an unfection. Hospital work is not conducive to recovery. You guys know what its like. My advice is don't go back for at least six weeks!
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Sorry....Im 7 weeks post op, not months.
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my job is phsycally demanding and i went back to work 4 weeks to the day after a tt and bl. it was harder than i thought it would be, especally since i developed an infection in one breast. i work about 9 hours a day and drive for an additional two ( travellling) there and back)
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I asked about returning to work too, on the Recovery Tips forum. I have an office job & was thinking of returning after 2 weeks. (Scheduled TT is 10/12). One replied that she suggested 6 weeks. Reading thru the posts on that forum, it does sound like the 2 weeks I'm planning may be somewhat "aggresive" :) Go over to that forum, and see what you think!
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I'm interested in anyone's response on this. Certainly a nurse has gone through this that can help us. I'm a sonographer and my job can be physical somewhat. Moving patients and pushing a heavy machine around.
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