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  1. I am a critical care nurse and I have been employed in the same ICU unit for the last 21 years. During that time I have lost a considerable amount of hearing. I am now totally deaf in 1 ear and have about 50% loss in the other. I wear a hearing aide but there are still some limitations with the localization of sound, phone use and communication with other staff members when the environment is noisy. My co-workers are aware of this and understanding and when new people are hired I do have to tell them on a one to one basis that they need to speak directly to me and that I will not be able to hear them from a distance. I have in the past had to deal with some discrimination when my deficit was an inconvenience to a new co-worker so I fear this discrimination and ridicule in a new environment. I function without any difficulty in my unit because my familiarity with the sounds of my unit's monitors and equipment help me locate and identify the sources and I know which phone has the loudest volume control. I function independently and safely. I am now told that I will randomly have to take turns floating to a different hospital, with entirely different staff and equipment, when they need some help if someone is on vacation or sick or they are short handed. We were invited to an "Open House" to look around and familiarize ourselves with the unit. No formal orientation or introductions. My question is what rights do I have to protect myself from having to disclose my disability to absolute strangers time and time again. This issue is very embarrassing and emotional to me. It is impossible not to be self-conscious about this defect, I am broken, and the fear of becoming completely deaf is very real and overwhelming. In addition to my feelings is the fact that I am concerned about my ability to function safely in this unfamiliar environment. Not being able to hear or localize sounds will make me the weakest team member and may jeopardize my ability to provide safe patient care independently. Do I have to tattoo my disability to my forehead and strap myself to the flag pole at this other facility so that everyone that comes in contact with me knows I am disabled? Are there laws that protect me from this humiliation? Can they fire me for not wanting to put myself in that position?
  2. We currently do not have a unit manager. I spoke with the temporary manager covering and she said it was not in her hands. I just wanted to know if they could make me do this if I feel it is dangerous or fire me if I refuse. I will take this up with our "practice committee" who came up with this idea and then voice my concerns with human resources. I did not want to speak up at work until I had a grasp on how much trouble I was going to get into for "stiring the pot". Thanks for the advice I will start at the bottom and work up with my facts in place.
  3. Yes, it is just approximately 10 miles but that adds almost 1/2 hour each way. My problem is being gone for up to 16 hours and having to turn around and go back for another 12.5 hour shift. I would have to leave by 5:30 pm (on the floor and ready to work by 7pm) and not get home earlier than 9:00 am the next morning(if by some chance we got out on time and I fell immediately to sleep once home). I am truly afraid of falling asleep behind the wheel and getting hurt. In bad weather the time needed greatly increases and in the winter it is already getting dark. You can not just fly 55 mph down country roads like google calculates. If something did happen all they would say was "she never said it would be problem". Driving 43 miles/1 hour 12 minutes in good weather down country roads after being up almost 17 hours is dangerous. I would also only be given 1/2 hour notice so I could only hope the weather would be favorable. Am I just complaining or is this a little unreasonable/dangerous? I am seriously losing sleep over this. I can barely make it home as it is sometimes after a hectic shift saving lives. If it was my family member I would not want their RN exhausted. These sound like small amounts but they add up. Do I have the right to refuse? I never signed any contracts and we sistered with this other hospital years after my initial hire. I fully understand the rights my employer has in regards to telling me what to do, but it seems ashame to have to quit because I am afraid I will have an accident. Thanks for your input.
  4. I have been a critical care nurse at the same facility for 21 years. I live 32 miles from my employer and my commute takes approximately 40-45 minutes. I work 7pm until 7:30 am every SAT and SUN night. We have now been told that we have to cross train at our sister hospital and have no choice. My concern is for my safety because now I will have to drive 42.5 miles(google maps) which takes at least 1 hour 12 minutes(google) to just get to the parking lot. Since we very seldom get out on time and probably will not get out on time working on an unfamiliar unit I am fearful of my drive home after 15-16 hours. The weather where I live can be very dangerous and my communte is across farmland and wooded areas. Even now, with the shorter commute, it is sometimes hard to stay awake. I feel that they are asking me to do something that is not safe and I wonder what rights I have to refuse this because I think they are putting me in danger. I am afraid and I do not want to lose my job.
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