Young, but New RN Grad with Disability

  1. Hello Everyone. I just passed my boards last week. Go me! Anyways, I'm kinda in a dilemma and wanted to get some insight from the veteran RNs here. I am 27 but have some rare medical conditions and have been sick most of my life. When I say "sick", I'm stable. Just meaning I have Addisons disease and panhypopituitarism which causes extreme fatigue and take meds and steroids on a daily basis. However, I managed to get a BS in biology at 22 and then went back to school FT and worked FT to get my ADN recently. However, I have a desk job that is physically easy compared to my clinicals as a student RN. While doing my clinicals, I did have a hard time keeping up physically because of my rare conditions compared to my classmates, but made it through. Now, I'm ready for the job market. I have been doing case management for 5 years now for Social Security in OH. Which, normally, requires a RN degree. But, when I started 5 years ago, I came in under a BS in Biology. My salary is slightly under what a new grad Med/Surg RN in OH would make now. However, with a few months experience, I could be making alot more money. So, here's my question. Having some serious, but rare conditions, should I stick with a desk job or try my hand at floor nursing? Everyone says that I could go straight into an insurance company and/or workman's comp firm and make alot more money than floor nursing and work from home because I already have the 5 years experience at SSA doing case management. OR I could go to a hospital and be a floor nurse for a year and then transfer into another desk job maybe as a manager or something in that area. I'm just really up in the air about the whole situation. Another person suggested picking a less physical 'specialty' like psych floor nursing. I'm just scared I'll leave my desk job here, go to a floor nursing position at the local hospital, be physically overwhelmed and have to return to case work again and went to school for 2 years as a RN for nothing. But, that is why I went to school is to be a RN!! I was scared as I aged, my body would slowly wear out even more and I wanted to ensure that I would be able to find a desk job and thought with the huge nursing shortage combined with my BS in biology, a RN degree was the way to go. So, how physically demanding is something like paramedical or research nursing? What areas could I consider less physically demanding besides case management? It seems the options are endless in nursing these days. Are there other young RNs out there like me with special medical needs/disabilities? I guess I just wanted to see what everyone thought about case management vs floor nursing with someone with a rare condition that has to have special medical considerations. Thanks in advance for replying and reading my post.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    I think it mioght stress your immune system too much to do bedside nursing. You look like an ideal case manager or disability examiner. If you are able to do this, which a lot of us couldn't ever do, I think I'd stay with the known...
  4. by   roxannekkb
    If your clinical time while a student wore you out, then I think should stay away from floor nursing. Working as an RN on a patient floor is going to be many times more stressful and physically challenging that doing a clinical rotation as a student. You need to take care of yourself, and it does seem like a desk job would be ideal for you.

    Even working in psych can be tiring. If you really want to deal with patients, then something like home health might be better, or occupational nursing.

    Good luck!
  5. by   llg
    I agree with the people above. Bedside nursing is very physically demanding. Hospital jobs in management and/or education can also require rotating shifts, the ability to help out with physical care when necessary, and the requirement to work more than 40 hours per week. I would stay away from all of them if I were you.

    If you have found another option that satisfies your needs, I would take it. A lot of nurses with disabilities have few options because they have only prepared themselves for bedside roles. You are lucky that you thought ahead.

    Have you checked out exceptionalnurse.com? It is a website specifically created for nurses with disabilities. It's fairly new and wasn't a whole lot of help the last time I looked at it, but it's probably improving all the time and might be something you should check out periodically.

    llg (who has a hearing impairment and balance disorder)
  6. by   disher
    I vote for trying clinical research or a doctor's office. Either will give you a different experience from what you already know and if you don't like it you can always go into case management later.
  7. by   ceecel.dee
    Well, you know your job now, so could you moonlight at the local hospital for a few shifts a payperiod as a way to "dip your toe in to test the water"? I agree that it is really physically demanding, but can also be energizing!
    Never be afraid to try something new; the safety net underneath you is a good idea too.

    Congrats, and good luck!
  8. by   donmurray
    On the other hand........The mantra in the UK is "make the job fit the person, not the person fit the job" We have a Disability Discrimination act, which requires the employer to make "reasonable adjustments" to a job specification to accommodate the individual. I understood that disability rights in the US were generally stronger than ours. Basically, I suppose I'm saying "Go for it!", you will always wonder if you could have done it, otherwise. Good luck with your choice.
  9. by   mattsmom81
    Congrats on your accomplishments!! Good for you for getting that degree...smart move.

    I can understand your wanting to solidify your knowledge base, but I concur with the others, a FT staff position may not be wise for you... and you would give up your current CM job to do it. Maybe that's not a problem, there may be other opportunities elsewhere for you...depends on your local job market.

    Facilities in my areas LIKE to hire new grads FT for a good orientation for about a 6 month committment before a status change to PT or PRN. BUT perhaps you could find one part time if you negotiate. You'd have to interview to find out.

    If you really love your patient contact, you could EVENTUALLY work some prn shifts (that's what I do and it works well with my health problems).

    RN case management sure sounds like a great career for you if you enjoy it!! Follow your heart, only you can decide.

    Best wishes and again congrats!
  10. by   VickyRN
    Congratulations on becoming an RN! If you really enjoy what you are doing, then I vote with the rest--stay where you are. Most staff nursing jobs on hospital floors are exhausting mentally, emotionally, and physically day in and day out. It's like being an athlete--you hit the floor running just as fast as you can and you don't stop until an hour after your shift ends. Only then do you realize you haven't eaten or peed all shift long. Little is done to accomodate nurses with special needs. And another thought, just because you are not at the bedside, doesn't make you any less valuable a nurse.... That's the beauty of the nursing profession. There are so many avenues we can pursue, and ALL of our contributions are important!
  11. by   zambezi
    I agree with the poster that suggested clinical research nursing, it is primarily a desk job but you do get to see patients do follow-up, education, some travel, you will need good organizational skills and coordinating abilities...phase two/three studies are the most intersting IMO, many are acute and in hospital and you can visit and follow-up there...phase four studies are also interesting but are usually out of doctors offices, there are also many openings for rns...oncology often has many of the earlier phase studies, also many allergists/diabetes clinics, any type of office may have a dr that does studies so you can pick a specialty, if you have a research or specialty hospital near you i am sure there would be any opportunities there, type in clinical research coordinating in your search engine and lots of stuff pops up to give you a better idea, you can get certified but it is often up to the clinic or hosptial you work at as to whether you need to be...you could also look into doing education at the hospital or in a clinic (most will specail train, many are requiring bsn or masters these days)....there are lots of options so if you are tired of your job now, look into one that might fit for you, ask to shadow a typical day so you can see what goes on before you jump in with both feet....anyway good luck to you and congratulations on graduating...
  12. by   jfpruitt
    Just wanted to bump my post.

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