I have been in my current position since March 2015 (8 months). Prior to holding this position, I was in another position within the same network. I am an RN in a very busy emergency department. I work 12 hour night-shifts. Since starting this job, I have had 3 hypoglycemic seizures while sleeping during the day after a night at work. My endo has mentioned to me that he feels like switching to a day shift position with less adrenaline surges would at least help to prevent the delayed onset of hypoglycemia sometimes leading to seizures. If I apply for another job within the network, I do believe that my boss is notified that I have applied elsewhere. Should I tell her before I even start applying that my health has been at stake? I feel like I am playing Russian roulette and that I may not always win. My dilemma is that RNs must stay in their position for 1 year before transferring to another position. That means I would have to wait for 4 more months before I could start the application process.
Sorry to be so dense, but could you please explain to me what you mean by “switching to a day shift position with less adrenaline surges would at least help to prevent the delayed onset of hypoglycemia sometimes leading to seizures.”?
I work nights. Lots of adrenaline in the ED. I sometimes go very low during the day after. I cannot predict how my nights are going to go nor can I predict the adrenaline effect the following day. So he thinks if I get out of the ED to somewhere more predictable and less stressful then my basals will be easier to control. I hope that makes sense! Let me know if it doesn’t.
Thanks for the clarification. What you said makes a lot more sense now. I somehow understood the sentence I quoted to mean that there are less “adrenaline surges” in the ED during the day than during the night. My misinterpretation of your words were at odds with my experiences in the ED back in the day: the ED was always dripping with buzz-producing adrenaline-filled happenings both day and night. I kind of miss it…
Yes! I too love the adrenaline rushes. However, my glucose doesn’t. I’m very well-controlled since I eat low carb. But all of the activity makes it really hard to set basals and even set temporary basals. I frequently walk around and work while functioning very well with sugars in the 40s and 50s. I know! I know! That’s nothing to brag about. I’ve been T1 for almost 40 years now. I’ve got a little hypoglycemia unawareness unfortunately. One of my coworkers teases me and says that since I’m normally euglycemic or hypoglycemic that my body would probably go into DKA when I hit 150! I try but sometimes my pride in taking care of my patients supersedes my ability to take care of myself.
I used to work in Human Resources, not in the medical community though. Some of the comments you have made i’m not familiar with due to the medical speciality. Generally speaking though, I would say that since diabetes is a disability covered under the ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer is required to provide you with reasonable accommodations when your job is concerned for reasons of your health.
It is your responsibility to communicate your diabetes and your requests for accommodations to your employer.
I’m not a big fan on blabbing about information people don’t really need to know about but in this case your employer needs to know so they can best accommodate you for the shift you need. It sounds like changing shifts is a reasonable accommodation but the fact that there is a penalty against you changing positions is something you really need to speak with an union rep or human resources rep for the hospital, maybe both. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to check with both. i’m not sure if you are unionized.
My 2cents on this telling vs not telling your management/boss is that you need to communicate to your boss that you need an accommodation for your disability and that is changing shifts. This is why you are applying to a different shift. I would have a meeting with an HR and/or union rep before speaking with your boss about it. Then sit down with your boss so you are armed with the proper information to share and what not to share. I think you may be need to have a doctors written note documenting the medical accommodation. Again, you will need to speak with an HR rep and/or a union rep for more specific information pertaining to your field and job. I’m just giving you a place to start. In my experience, Its better to be upfront and share things discretely than to blindside someone, especially your boss. This isn’t politics, its work, business.
This may not be all the information you need to know, but this is a portion of it. Please seek counsel at work.
I wish you the best,
Here is an excellent resource for you:
Please scroll down to Accommodatng Employees with Diabetes, changing shifts is a reasonable accommodation.
Please read through all of this, its all good information to know your rights in the workplace.
I woudl really start with the HR. As a former HR director (not medical) I mostly agree with what the prior commentator states. I guess the major difference is that i would start with HR. They knwo the law and will being the supervisor in when it is appropriate (very soon in the process).
Lawrence ‘rick’ Phillips