I'm going back!

So for those who don't know me very well, I've been off work (Renal Nursing) for the last 3 months due to a flare which started in July/August, and floored me just before Christmas.

Now I'm ready (?!) to return to work. I've discussed it with my GP, my manager agreed to me starting back on 'phase return' on the 12th March after I've seen the Occupational Health Consultant on the 7th, who has the final say so.

So, all set to go.........until I went into the Renal Unit yesterday on a visit.

OMG! the staffing was terrible, the staff morale is rock bottom. The manager called me into his office and said he was so glad I was coming back but, could I start on the 5th instead as they were so short staffed (one of the other nurses mother had died so was on compassionate leave). I apologised but said I was only going to return when seen and cleared to work by the OH consultant as agreed.

He wasn't happy, but I stuck to my guns and pointed out the first week I will only be returning for 2 x 6 hour shifts as set out in my return agreement, 3 x 6 hour shifts the second week and this will not help much with the staffing numbers. He wants me to return on more hours!!! Yeah right! and who's going to scrape me off the floor by the end of the second week!

You would think a Senior Nurse would understand

So I'm going back, I was looking forward to it, but now it's.............be afraid, be very afraid lol,

I am so glad you are going to return to work! Good for you! But stick to your guns: you won't do yourself, or anyone else. if you are on the floor. I mean it. I didn't and ended up out on disability which did not help staffing in the least. The nursing shortage is so much bigger than you or I doing extra shifts can possibly impact. But no real changes are possible while we are band aiding the situation. Good luck!

Thanks Michael,

I am looking forward to it but with a bit more trepidation than before my visit, but I'm going to be strict about my hours and take back my owed hours on the same week I work them......going to discuss this with the OH consultant too, so its all documented on my facility agreement. I don't know how many hours they owed me......it was well over 30 hours of shifts running late but the "time owing" book mysteriously disappeared without the time owed to the staff being recorded, funny that, as the time staff owed the NHS was recorded before the book was "lost" ;)

I hate it when stuff like that happens. I was lucky we were unionized before I went out on disability; lots of that stuff stopped happening. Good luck, I am rooting for you.

That's great that you're feeling well enough to return on a limited basis. Congrats!

Thanks Stoney x <3

Don’t worry Debi I’ll definitely be sticking to my agreed hours for phased return…saying that, not sure if its all in my head, but I’ve been so tired the last 4-5 days I’ve had to nap every afternoon…maybe I’m just getting the best out of my leisure time while I can lol

I try and ask myself is it my problem or their problem. This has helped me walk away from situations that I don't want to get involved with and I know will stress me out. Asking myself this question first, helps me to stop other people dumping on me. I have even verbalized this by saying out aloud, " it is not my problem, I have more than enough to cope with". Your health is more important and they should be more understanding but don't expect as everyone has more than they need to cope with. I am retired now, but I did work in community services and for us people who care for others do so because it is in our nature to want to help others. Much more than we know is good for us and there is always more work than staff can cope with. The golden rule for carers of other people is we must take good care of ourselves first before we can help others. Stand firm. I am sure you know all this, but a gentle reminder is all you might need to support you.

Thanks Bella, you are so right :)

Have done my 2 short shifts this week and have slowed my work pace to what I can cope with. Instead of taking on all the dialysis related problems staff come to me with, I have pointed them in the direction of the nurse in charge. I was assigned a student nurse to mentor within the first 5 minutes of walking through the door on the first day (without any prior knowledge) and promptly explained to her that I was on phase return from illness and would not be able to mentor her for the moment...again I referred back to the nurse in charge. My rota informed me that I would be doing late shifts from Tuesday (3.30pm til 9.30pm) when the agreement was to keep me on half early shifts (7 til 1) for the first 6 weeks..........prompt email to manager with a copy to my union rep.

So..........it was good to be back, the patients were pleased to see me and I cannot count the amount of hugs I got all round. Best of all I managed ok.........out of bed at 5, at work at 7, drooping a bit by midday. Roll on next week!! :)

Good for you Louise, I am so happy for you. Good luck next week.