The Student Room Group

Occupational health dilemma..

Diagnosed with a condition in my neck called cervical myelopathy in January and I am awaiting for an operation called an anterior cervical discectomy, I have applied and firmed my uni choices and have just completed a 10 month access to nursing course and achieved the required grades for my chosen uni, I had my occupational health check phone call back in May and disclosed the information about my surgery and current symptoms (that I do manage daily and don’t impact me too much) etc and she told me that at the moment I am ‘not for to study’ and has rescheduled to call me again on 12th July for an update. I have my pre op on 18th july and I am down for surgery at the end of the month, however I am absolutely petrified of what to say to the OH lady on the 12th as I fear that by saying I’ve still not had my surgery she will say I am unfit for study and I will be removed from the course.. it’s adult nursing.. yes I know it’s a toughie. Due to start first week in September, but placement doesn’t start until January. My consultant has told me that recovery from surgery is around 4 - 6 weeks however as I am young etc recovery I should be back to daily activities by 2 - 4 weeks, I will just have to go easy and not run round like a bull in a china shop.

I am desperate to start my course in September, I really do not want to defer, I suffer from anxiety also and I feel that if I have to defer I will just completely give up (yes, I know you think I’m being silly) but it means so much to me to start in September, I’m 36 and waited for years to be able to get to this point, after a gruelling 10 month access course and working my butt off I am desperate to get cracking on the next part of the adventure.

Any suggestions what I can say to OH on 12th July?

Thank you in advance x
Reply 1
Hi there. Occupational Health will not be trying to stop you undertaking the course. Their job is to protect you and ensure that you remain safe. Therefore it is important to be honest with them. Explain that you are having the surgery and the recovery time. They should be able to provide a follow up appointment before you start your placement (although remember that there will be practical activities at Uni as well in the lead up to the placements). I hope it goes well for you and that you can start your new career as planned - it sounds like you have worked hard for it.
Reply 2
I am just extremely worried that as I’ve still not had the surgery, she will still say I am ‘unfit for study’ and then I’ll be withdrawn from the course.

Original post by JohnB1
Hi there. Occupational Health will not be trying to stop you undertaking the course. Their job is to protect you and ensure that you remain safe. Therefore it is important to be honest with them. Explain that you are having the surgery and the recovery time. They should be able to provide a follow up appointment before you start your placement (although remember that there will be practical activities at Uni as well in the lead up to the placements). I hope it goes well for you and that you can start your new career as planned - it sounds like you have worked hard for it.
Original post by dlc33
I am just extremely worried that as I’ve still not had the surgery, she will still say I am ‘unfit for study’ and then I’ll be withdrawn from the course.


You need to be realistic about whether or not you will have had the surgery and recovered from it in time to start in September. If not, then deferring til the next cohort start is going to be your best option. Without this surgery they have decided that it’s not in your best interests to start the course, so there’s not much else you can do. Do you have a set date for your surgery?
Reply 4
No, I am having my pre op on 18th July and was told it would be scheduled for the end of July, after having just called my consultants secretary now, I have found that due to strikes it will now likely be in august time 💔 is there no way I can start the course then take the time off needed for surgery as and when? I am able to take part in daily activities now and I have just finished an access to nursing course at college which I had no problems attending or engaging in, I achieved good marks.



Original post by moonkatt
You need to be realistic about whether or not you will have had the surgery and recovered from it in time to start in September. If not, then deferring til the next cohort start is going to be your best option. Without this surgery they have decided that it’s not in your best interests to start the course, so there’s not much else you can do. Do you have a set date for your surgery?
Original post by dlc33
No, I am having my pre op on 18th July and was told it would be scheduled for the end of July, after having just called my consultants secretary now, I have found that due to strikes it will now likely be in august time 💔 is there no way I can start the course then take the time off needed for surgery as and when? I am able to take part in daily activities now and I have just finished an access to nursing course at college which I had no problems attending or engaging in, I achieved good marks.

will probably take a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks or slightly longer to get back to doing your usual activities. But it may depend on what kind of surgery you had. Your doctor may advise you to work with a physiotherapist to strengthen the muscles in your neck and upper back

As Moonkattt said it's probably best to await until the following cohort to allow you cerficite time to fully recover from the operation due to the nature of nursing.


No point starting your course and then having to unfortunately try and make up your missing time as especially the first 7 weeks or so you'll be probably in university before they start to send people on to placements.
As you think it's going to be sometime August before you have your operation which means you won't probably be recovered until at minimum end of September early October.

Ask the university if you can defer until the next intake is ( maybe January).

When you see occupational health people on 12th July tell them about it and see what they say as they will be there for you. I wouldn't take any chances especially with a neck operation.

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