Nurse unable to use lifts - is it a disability?

(48 Posts)
Confusedandfrightened Tue 08-May-18 18:12:01

I’m looking for advice in case anyone else has ever experienced the same thing or knows if I have any chance in the future? I just had an interview for this Thursday cancelled for a job working on a single floor ward. I made them aware under the two ticks that my lift phobia was classed as a disability as it affected my day to day life as a nurse. They thanked me for letting them know on my application when they called to confirm the face to face interview but now it’s been cancelled as “using a lift is an integral part of being a nurse and there isn’t always a colleague available to take your place to transport a patient to the main hospital”. I was going back to clinical nursing after 11 years in management so still have my pin. Now I don’t know what I’m going to be able to do for my work?

OP’s posts: |
Lougle Tue 08-May-18 18:39:13

Having a disability means that a reasonable adjustment needs to be made, if it can be made. However, if there is an imperative part of the job that requires a certain function, for which no reasonable adjustment can be made, then the potential employer is entitled to reject you on that basis.

You will know, from the job applied for, whether that applies here? As an example, I worked as a recovery nurse, and it involved lone working, or working with a healthcare assistant out of hours. As the only Registered Nurse, I had to be with my patient at all times, so couldn't have opted to take the stairs while my colleague accompanied the patient in the lift.

This doesn't rule you out of nursing. The field is huge. It simply reduces the field to a role where you are not required to undertake patient transfers in lifts as an essential part of your role.

Confusedandfrightened Tue 08-May-18 19:31:33

Thanks, the problem is the ward it was on is a single story building so I’m not sure how often if ever I would be needed to do a transfer? Apart from that I’m children’s trained which I have found recently really narrows down my options as rgns can work across he field but Rn child are unable to, and there just aren’t any vacancies around for children’s sad

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Colbu24 Tue 08-May-18 19:35:18

Have you tried hypnotherapy? It can help to overcome your phobia.

Slartybartfast Tue 08-May-18 19:37:04

I think you need to eradicate the lift phobia

Slartybartfast Tue 08-May-18 19:37:29

Would cbt help?

greendale17 Tue 08-May-18 19:42:29

* I made them aware under the two ticks that my lift phobia was classed as a disability as it affected my day to day life as a nurse.*

Since when is a phobia of lifts classed as a disability????

kissthealderman Tue 08-May-18 19:47:57

I don't think a phobia is a disability...

What therapy have you tried? CBT? Exposure therapy?

Sidge Tue 08-May-18 19:53:29

Can you try getting some help with your phobia? Phobias are potentially classed as a disability if they are pervasive and persistent, so agoraphobia or similar. I'm not sure a fear of lifts would be covered under employment legislation (am a nurse not a lawyer!).

Maybe CBT or hypnotherapy could help. It would open up your job options.

Otherwise look at alternative areas for working - community? School nursing?

wormery Tue 08-May-18 19:56:18

What part of the country are you in, would you do home, school or community nursing or maybe something educational. Will you have to do a return to practice course as you've been out of clinical care for 11 years

ManifestingPowerhouse Tue 08-May-18 19:58:53

Dear Lord.

TuftedLadyGrotto Tue 08-May-18 20:02:40

A disability is any physical or mental impairment that is long term (over 12 months) and has a substantial effect on your ability to do day to day activities.

rupertpenryswife Tue 08-May-18 20:16:05

As a nurse I can say I do have to use the lift at work at times not often but it happens, the problem can be that a trained nurse may need to escort a sick patient and you can't always ask a colleague to go as they would not know your patient and would also have there own patients to look after.

It's a real shame, as we are so desperately short of nurses.

MyDcAreMarvel Tue 08-May-18 20:27:13

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

BakedBeans47 Tue 08-May-18 21:00:20

Presumably they must have thought the likelihood of transferring a patient via a lift must happen often enough that it’s an essential part of the role?

Also without knowing more about it and how it affects you day to day, on the basis of what you’ve posted here, I think classing your phobia as a disability might be pushing it.

Have you considered therapy or counselling to help with the phobia?

Confusedandfrightened Tue 08-May-18 22:32:36

The only reason I classed it as a disability as that’s what it was diagnosed as twenty years ago when I trained, I saw a counsellor and tried various therapies ending with us both being such in a bloody lift! The occupational health worker at the time said it was classed under the then DDA so I certainly haven’t said this to offend disabled, having worked with people with disabilities all my life. If you can’t say anything nice then scroll on by for goodness sake. My career is at a point where I feel helpless, so cheers for the couple of you that had to post unkindly.
I’ve not got to do a return to nursing as I still have my pin through management of a service in the community but I would like some family life back now and was hoping to go back to the wards. I guess I will have to accept it and move on.

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Lougle Tue 08-May-18 22:41:45

I think you have to consider how you will do your job. How would you accompany your patient to x-ray, theatre, plaster room, ultrasound, etc.? You may say "I wouldn't", but realistically, if it is your patient, and your ward is full of sick patients, the consequence of you being unable to do so is that you would have to ask someone to take that patient, who may not have a relationship with nurse, while you take over the care of their patients. Neither of you will know very much about each other's patients. It can lead to errors.

BakedBeans47 Tue 08-May-18 23:07:11

Whether something amounts to a disability in law is a legal rather than a clinical decision though. Obviously we don’t know how it affects you other than what you have posted here of course.

If you applied for roles which you know are all on the flat do you think you’d be best not mentioning it?

Rubberduckies Wed 09-May-18 06:44:52

I would think about other nursing roles as a pp said. Health visiting course? Community? Learning disabilities? Camhs? School nursing? Hospice? If you have any other nhs trusts in your area chat with them as they may have different polices.

To open doors for yourself, maybe consider therapy again for your phobia. You tried it before, but techniques and research have changed, and so have you.

Confusedandfrightened Wed 09-May-18 07:10:39

I almost didn’t mention it but thought it best to be honest. The role was on a nicu so most interventions and X-rays etc come to the ward, it’s only really for surgery that babies would leave the unit for.
I’d love to nurse in the community as either a health visitor or school nurse but the trainee positions come up literally every two years sad
Going to apply for some Assessor type roles and see where that leads. Thanks for all the suggestions about therapy, like a pp said I have changed and so have therapies.

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Slartybartfast Wed 09-May-18 07:30:26

in the community might involve lifts, in retirement complexes.

Confusedandfrightened Wed 09-May-18 07:31:59

Don’t know many children who are retired?! 😂

OP’s posts: |
Slartybartfast Wed 09-May-18 07:36:46

oh, sorry, thinking community - blush forgot the child part

Chocolatecoffeeaddict Wed 09-May-18 07:51:56

No it's not a disability at all. I am scared of lifts. I hate the feeling of being enclosed and I worry I'll press the wrong buttons for some reason.
But I have no choice but to use lifts as I have baby and toddlers in a pram, and daughter with a slight physical disability and sometimes using them is unavoidable.
My autistic daughter doesn't like them too either and screams in the lift. But we have to get on with it or we'd never go anywhere.

wormery Wed 09-May-18 10:56:48

If you Google Postgraduate Health Visitor course there are several places around the UK offering the h.v. and school nurse courses, starting in September this year, varying from 1 to 4 years. I hope you find something. You do find occasional school matron jobs in local papers.

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