Sunday, 17 May 2009

Attempt To Return To Work

Attempt To Return To Work
(Including Regaining My Professional Practising Status)

Late August 2008:

So what could go wrong? I'm bored to death and LTD (Long Term Disability) income sucks so perhaps now is the time to return to work.

My Doctor's eyebrows raised when I informed him I'd like to return to work. Really?
I need a 'Return To Work' form signed by him in order to proceed.

Approached Human Resources at my workplace but they tell me Occupational Health handles any return to work issues. I motor down to Occupational Health and speak to them about returning to work. No! - return to work requests have to go through my Private Insurance Carrier, not my employer. So I contact my Private Insurer about returning to work. Unlike my claims reimbursement submissions which take weeks to be acted upon, I had a date set for an interview shortly thereafter.

The Interview: Did not expect this. A two hour interview on issues such as "what pets I have" and "how many rooms I have in my home". Now, if I had a pet monkey and lived in a one room dwelling, I can't see how that would be important in my returning to a job that I still have. I didn't have such an extensive interview on applying for the job in the first place, some two decades ago.

More forms and papers passed back and forth for signing.

As I am employed as a medical technologist in a hospital lab, my skill is 'licensed' by a regulating college. When I first came home after my injury I called the college and placed myself on 'non-practising' status as it was not only truthful but cheaper in these monetarily challenged times. My college informed me that I can switch to non-practising for a period of two years and then return to practising without any consequences. What they failed to tell me at that time was that if I didn't reach the magic number of 900 hours worked in the previous year, the year would count as zero hours, or not worked at all. I was just under so that year didn't count.

So when I tried to regain my practising status I was now informed that after 30 years in the business, 20 of which at the same job with the same employer, I was a few hours short and had to take a refresher course. Because I am still dependent on a wheelchair, I couldn't commute and needed something offered by correspondence. Two courses met my requirements and that of the college but one course was 5 hours short of the 60 hours the college stated I needed and they wouldn't bend on the issue.

After 30 years of employment 5 hours separated me from regaining my practising status!

Well I chose the other option and after some difficulties in getting registered I was enrolled in the refresher course rated at 80 hours, over 36 weeks which arrived in three 3 inch binders.
I took this issue seriously and crammed my 36 weeks into 4 strait weeks of studying. As I was familiar with most this material, it wasn't too difficult.

After 30 years in the discipline, asking me to take a basic refresher was akin to having an executive secretary returning to the workforce take a course on which is the business end of a pencil and what is a computer keyboard.

The refresher course was tested with 10 one hour exams which I wrote in three sessions and in about 5 hours. Now I'm waiting for the marks to arrive so I can forward them to the college for reinstatement.

Ergonomic Assessment:
I did have an ergonomic assessment at work to see how I could physically fit in to the lab. I felt I had very few problems. I wanted as few changes as possible as this was the real world and I could adapt or figure out how to do some task or reach particular items. Unbelievably, the assessor had me reach for various items while she took measurement of my arm to the item, of the item to the floor etc. Then the same was documented in photographs, Thorough!

Now, the only difference pre and post injury is that I am unable to step away from the wheelchair without a walker, why on earth do they want to get me an ergonomic computer keyboard? My hands and my reach are unaffected! Go Figure!

So, I've jumped through all the hoops and all I have to do now is to wait for my marks, forward them to my college and inform the Occupational Health Department of my status.

If the past holds true, I'm certain more obstacles will find there way into my path.

So, I started inquiries about returning to work in August of 2008 and now it's May of 2009.

My attempt to return to a job that I still have has taken about 9 months so far.

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