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Can a nurse be excused from call shift due to hearing loss? I’m nervous my hearing aids may malfunction.



Dear Donna,

I am a 12-hour night shift worker in labor and delivery, and I’m expected to take one call shift a month. I have started wearing hearing aids and have anxiety every time my call comes up because I might fall asleep and my hearing aids may malfunction. We have several nurses who have a medical excuse to not take call, ranging from anxiety to being unable to drive at night. Have you ever heard of a nurse being excused from call shift due to hearing loss?

Anxiety Over Call

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Anxiety Over Call,

If other nurses can get medical excuses for the reasons you mention, you certainly should be more than eligible. Speak with your primary care provider and/or whoever treats your for hearing loss. I think you have a very legitimate case.

Another option for you would be to get an assistive alerting device — the type those with more profound hearing loss use for telephone rings, smoke alarms and doorbells, which alerts them in other ways to these sounds. Find out more about these devices from your healthcare provider, insurance carrier, local hearing center or any national association for the deaf.

And if you don’t already know about their existence, connect with a community of nurses with disabilities of all types. Founder and administrator Donna Maheady, ARNP, EdD, is very knowledgeable and helpful in supporting nurses with disabilities to be able to do the work they love.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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