Beware the Railroad 'Nurse'by Bristol Baxley
Several of our clients who work for Class 1 railroads have had run ins recently with the company nurse. Railroad employees need to know that the company nurse, despite their title, is not there to render medical assistance. Instead the railroad nurse is a tool of management, whose primary concern is to hold down the amount of an injured employee's financial recovery.
Things the Railroad Nurse Can't Do for an Injured Railroad Worker
- Order X-rays or an MRI
- Prescribe medicine
- Provide any medical relief
Things the Railroad Nurse Can Do
- Collect information to be used against your case
- Delay your medical treatment
Here's a quick look at a part of a form completed by a railroad nurse pertaining to a recent railroad injury client:
Notice that they have a checkbox already in place to advise the employee that they violated a rule.
Also, take a look at UP's job description for Occupational Health Nurse. Note the many references to 'case management' and '(early) return to work.' There is no mention of providing medical attention and facilitating diagnosis and proper treatment of on the job injuries.
In fact, the UP nurse even appears to be in charge of developing a network of ('company') doctors and getting them on board with 'railroad, policies, processes and programs.'
Clearly, the railroad wants you to see their doctor and not your own, and the company nurse is the point person in this effort. An injured railroad worker has a right to go to the hospital or their own doctor for treatment. And, the best way to get away from the company nurse is to say 'Take me to the Hospital.'