I've worked as a nurse at a public hospital for 30 Years. Struggling with treatment resistant depression the last couple of years. Motivation finally improving but not coping well at work. Have a supportive, but junior manager who has made some temporary accommodations for me but management are saying to continue to do so would be unfair on the other staff and I'm supposed to be finding a position "more suitable". I applied recently for a job in a less challenging area of the hospital but was unsuccessful. A very stressful situation at work last week resulted in a worsening of my condition and I'm now taking some (more) sick leave. My question is, do I now ask for a formal HR process to assist ("manage" me)? I havent done so untill now as my psychiatrist advised strongly me against it, saying they would "F*&*k me up", deliberately put me in a position I hate in order to get rid of me. I know this does happen. His advice was to actively seek other employment myself . I'm at the point of needing (small) doses of a sedative at work to calm my thinking which really is dangerous and untenable. Taking leave has not been of any benefit work-wise and I need some more permanent changes. I am planning to see a psychologist to assist with coping strategies. What are people's experience with HR processes at work? Should I push for a more formal process? I know I'm within my rights.
I went through the employee assistance program (EAP) when I worked in a major hospital and was treated appallingly. I was basically "fucked up" by my manager and other staff and was indeed put in a position I hated so I would resign. They even had the right under the Public Servants Act to see my medical records and once it was discovered I had schizophrenia, I was retrenched. Highly illegal I know as my work according to a performance appraisal was excellent. I haven't worked since and that was a decade ago now.
@Summerxxd My experience working with the HR department at the hospital where I worked was two fold. The general HR staff were considerate and very caring towards me. Management of this department however was horrid. They were rude, abusive and kept trying to push my buttons.
Eventually they terminated my work contract because I could no longer do the work I was hired for. And all because of an incident at work where I was placed in danger with a patient. So I ended up with Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. And went on WorkCover.
The HR department is not there to help you. They are there to cover their own butts. Don't trust them.
No,Thankyou so much for your reply. Hoping I can get more workplace adjustments (regular hours, short shifts, not being shift coordinator etc) without involving HR but it’s not going to happen. I am still dealing with very challenging situations at work (only just) but it is taking me days to recover from and needing to increase anxiety meds because of it. It’s all getting too risky.
I can only offer you my perspectives and experiences but my situation is not so different to yours.
I'm a RN, and I used to work as an angency nurse in ED. My shifts were mostly based at 2 hospitals. Unfortunately I had a lot of admissions at one of the hospitals for self harm and suicidal attempts. I truly believed that in between these admissions, my work performance was satisfactory. However, the NUM of the ED where I was working and as a patient rang me and said that some nurses had complained to her about my admissions & they were concerned I was an unsafe practitioner. So she had asked the agency not to send me there until I could prove that I was better.
I know that I could have complained of unfair treatment and breach of confidentiality, but I left things alone and haven't returned to work for over two years. It's been an absolute 💩 show since that time especially financially. But your pyschiatrist is right; HR can really make life difficult for you, force into working in an area which you'll detest, which might impact your mental health and eventually threaten your job and career. I'm not sure where you live, but some states have mandatory reporting of staff with mental health issues to APHRA. I know I wouldn't want this on my records. It also sounds like you are questioning your position where you are and whether it's still worth it. Having a break to take care of yourself and your needs can be very helpful, but I understand money might be an issue. Nonetheless, it's gives you time to reflect and review your life and career and decide if you want to continue on the same path or explore other opportunities. I understand you are struggling right now, and being faced with big decisions is super difficult. Try to do what is right for you, in your heart. Mental health can take such a toll. And your nursing colleagues & superiors may still hold very discriminate and stigmatising views, especially behind your back. I hope whatever you decide it works out. And feel free to tag me anytime for a chat, support or questions.
Thankyou for your reply. So good to hear from a nurse! My heart is telling me to take a stand for my rights from a disability point of view as my current situation is harmful to my recovery. If I can’t work without relying on anti anxiety meds it’s ridiculous. (Although I am safe) I can’t think of anywhere they can put me that I wouldn’t prefer. Restructuring to cut costs means they are closing our ward most of the time and we are sent relieving. I didn’t deal with relieving even when I was well. Many of the staff are wanting to leave. I have a mortgage and my 2 teens 50% of the time so I have to keep working. I haven’t exhausted my sick leave and have long service leave up my sleeve but want to keep working for my recovery as well. My main source of support are my colleagues also. I had 3 weeks off recently, ok at home but found the pressures at work still too difficult when I returned. I can take more leave but it’s really just postponing the issue. I had decided to give my manager a letter tomorrow outlining my issues and requests. Wish me luck!
Thanks for sharing this, I'm also a nurse and I recently needed to submit a certificate for my current leave, and will find out when I return how this goes!
I feel very lucky to work in a hospital and in a department where I have worked for many years and feel valued for my hard work. I am dealing with a manager who i respect and trust and has promised all will be confidential (I haven't said much and i trust and respect, but I do worry just a little bit how 'valued' I am when I go back..in a couple of weeks (hopefully).
Hang on a minute, you’re a nurse in a hospital who feels valued for their hard work!!! I thought they were extinct haha. You are so very lucky. From what I’ve been learning so far, it’s best to negotiate just with your line manager, which sounds optimistic for you. I need to go beyond that now as mine is saying my sick leave is “having an impact on other staff” (because they have to do extra shifts- err they don’t HAVE to) etc. My point is going to be, not that I “can’t cope” or perform but that my workplace is having a negative impact on my illness. We shall see
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