Be the Boss Over Cancer

Hi am a RN with 25+ years experience in NICU/Nursery experience. After successful treatment for plasma cell leukemia (including a stem cell transplant) my doctor says I can go back to work after almost a year off. Because my immunity was wiped out with chemo, I need to be re-immunized.  The hospital won't let me back to my current position until my shots are updated and I can prove immunity to all the childhood diseases, esp rubella and pertussis.  Live vaccines will not be given for 2 years at least, maybe never.  I have no experience in other fields of nursing, so I don't know what to do to get back to work.  I applied for a few positions, but have been rejected.  Does the hospital have to find me a new position or is it up to me?   If I resign, I probably will not get rehired as an RN since I hold a diploma in nursing and not a BSN.  

I still suffer from fatigue, back and hip pain  resulting in depression too.  Working may help the fatigue and depression, but am I fooling myself, thinking I can do what I used to?

I am emotionally spent and just don't know what to do...

1 Comment

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  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Aug 13, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:


    First, I’m going to refer you to our Legal Resources to get
    answers about your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act and your legal
    rights with your employer.  You may have protections under FMLA and ADA from a Federal viewpoint and depending on your state of
    residence, also State law.

    Before figuring out your next career step, keep in mind that
    (1) your heath comes first,  and (2)
    access to health care coverage is very critical for you.  Don’t loose it.

    One of the questions you should find out is whether your
    doctor can release you for part time work or full time work and what you think
    you are capable of.  After a year’s
    absence, I would suggest  part time might
    be advisable so you can ease back into the workload.

    As to whether your employer or you are responsible for
    finding you a job, you are always better taking control of your career rather
    than leaving it in

    Where can your nursing knowledge be helpful without being
    hands-on?   Could it be as part of a tele-support service
    for parents calling in?  Could it be in
    the insurance coordination office?  Could
    it be helping coordinate services with the caregivers?   Explore what roles exist within your current

    Outside of your current employer, I know that when I
    recruited for HMOs and insurance companies, we valued the services of nurses
    who wanted to step away from the shift and weekend work. There are also some
    health care agencies that might benefit from your knowledge.  Is there an internal role at a Visiting
    Nurses Association, for instance? Talk to a temporary recruiting firm that
    might be able to give you ideas of the roles that might exist.

    Good Luck.  I hope
    this is helpful.


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