JAN provides this information as a way to share accommodation situations and solutions from health care industry related jobs. For a more in depth discussion, contact JAN directly.
Situations and Solutions:
A phlebotomist who is deaf was provided a text to speech device to communicate with patients.
He was also given a vibrating pager with visual display so he could be contacted while in remote locations of the hospital.
A nurse with drug addiction was restricted from dispensing medication after she was caught using illegal drugs.
Her employer had a policy allowing employees to participate in drug rehabilitation and return to work with a last chance agreement. When the nurse returned to work after rehabilitation, she was reassigned to a job that did not require her to dispense medication and given periodic drug tests.
A dental hygienist had Addison's disease.
She had difficulty leaning over patients. Her employer accommodated her with a forward-leaning chair.
An educator at a health care facility had no vision and wanted to bring her service dog to work to assist with mobility.
The employer allowed the employee to bring the service dog to work.
A health care worker with lupus had low vision.
She was having difficulty viewing her computer screen and paper copies. The individual was accommodated with a large monitor, screen magnification software, hand/stand magnifier for paper copies, and a closed circuit television system.
A nurse aide with latex allergy was reassigned to an area of the hospital where few latex products were used, but the aide was still having problems with latex exposure.
The employer realized that the latex was being carried through the ventilation system so the employer worked with a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) specialist to prevent the circulation of latex in the employee’s work area.
A nurse in an extended care facility asked for the accommodations of no overtime, as well as being relieved of duties that require her to work on the floor.
The employer denied the overtime request, as being available to provide overtime is an essential function of the job. As for not being required to work on the floor, the employer requested more medical documentation in order to determine what stressors were involved and how they might be reduced in order for the employee to work on the floor, another essential function of the position.
An employer who was greatly encouraging employees to get flu shots due to number of flu cases they experienced the previous year had an employee ask to forgo the injection because of a fear of needles.
The employer referred the employee to a specific pharmacy in their area where needle-free flu shots were available.
A registered nurse with latex allergies was having difficulty wearing latex gloves.
The employer provided her with non-latex gloves and started using non-powdered latex gloves for other staff to reduce the amount of latex in the environment.
A nurse with insulin-dependent diabetes and hypoglycemia was having problems regulating her condition (specifically, eating regularly while at work).
Her schedule was altered by eliminating the evening rotation until her blood glucose levels could be controlled on a consistent basis.
An operating-room nurse with chronic fatigue syndrome had difficulty rotating schedules.
She was accommodated with a permanent day schedule.
A physician with muscular dystrophy was having problems getting up from a seated position after consulting with patients.
The individual was accommodated with a lift cushion for his chair.
An employee with obsessive compulsive personality disorder works as an administrative assistant for a physician's office.
After being hired, she discloses her condition and requests accommodations in the form of written instructions, checklists, and a private workspace. The employer agrees to the accommodations. A few weeks into the job, the employee tells her supervisor she does not like the documentation system the office is using, and will be making changes as she sees fit. The supervisor explains that will not be tolerated, that she needs to follow their protocol, but the employee follows through with making her own changes. The supervisor takes disciplinary action and tells the employee if she continues to go against the employer's protocol that she could be terminated. The employee responds by writing an e-mail to the supervisor outlining how her way of doing things is better and why the employer should make the changes she is suggesting. The employer insists it will not make the changes and the employee needs to comply. The employee continues to defy the employer's instruction and is terminated.
A mental health employee with hemophilia was restricted by her physician from repetitive bending and twisting at the waist.
JAN suggested the employee use a reacher to pick up lighter objects to prevent bending.
A customer service representative for a physician's office is currently undergoing treatment for an eating disorder.
One of his therapeutic tasks is to integrate many small meals into his daily routine. His office has a strictly-enforced policy that employees can only eat in the break room, out of sight from the patients. In order to keep from disrupting his production level and to aid in his recovery, his supervisor modified the workplace policy and allowed the employee to eat snacks at his desk.
A nurse with a hearing impairment worked the night shift and had to talk to doctors who called for information.
She was having difficulty hearing over the telephone. The employee asked to be moved to a dayshift where there would be other nurses who could talk to the doctors; however, there were not any openings on the dayshift. The employer purchased a telephone amplifier, which enabled the nurse to hear effectively over the telephone.
A medical technician who was deaf could not hear the buzz of a timer, which was necessary for specific laboratory tests.
An indicator light was attached to the equipment.
A medical technician with chronic pain was restricted from doing repetitive work.
He was required to perform typing throughout the day. He was transferred to another job requiring less repetition.
A psychiatric nurse with cancer was experiencing difficulty dealing with job-related stress.
He was accommodated with a temporary transfer and was referred to the employer’s employee assistance program for emotional support and stress management tools.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, ten of the twenty fastest growing occupations are health care related. With an aging population, the U.S. health care field generates new wage and salary jobs at a rate higher than any other industry. This growth will be largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population. For new workers with disabilities, and as our working population ages, it is imperative to consider providing job accommodations to enhance the productivity of these valuable workers. For more information on health-care related accommodations, see: