Back in late November, I made the decision to move from critical care into hospice nursing. A lot of thought and prayer went into it. I really want this. In December, I had an arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The knee had been painful for such a long time and I just couldn't wait any longer to address it. Now that the surgery is over, the physical therapist advises me that the knee is not healing properly and I may have to walk with a cane permanently, or until I can get a knee replacement. The knee cannot completely straighten. This comes at a time when I am interviewing earnestly for my first hospice position. When I walked out of the therapy facility, I felt devestated, mostly afraid that walking with a cane will severely curtail my chances of being hired. I don't want to be dishonest about this with potential employers and it takes a lot of energy to mask my gimpiness. Will walking with a cane stop me? How will it impair the performance of my vocation? I can't go back to critical care or any kind of floor nursing for that matter now even if I wanted to. I'm currently on leave. Please share your thoughts.
Last edit by wonderbee on Jan 9, '07
Jan 9, '07
hospice nursing is different in that you spend time driving from place to place. There is patient care involved, but you will have a NA to assist and can schedule visits together, that way you can help, but wont be alone trying to get a patient up or something. Its mentally and emotionally taxing but less physically demanding than running up and down the hospital halls. You spend more time talking, educating, conseling in hospice. You really get to know your patient and develop sincere nurse-patient relationship. Good Luck. usually during pre-employment physical the issue with the knee may come up, best to be honest.
Jan 10, '07
Yes, of course, you're right. Best to be honest. This is a time in my recovery where I feel pretty helpless so the control freak in me comes out. It's not very pretty I'm afraid. Maybe I can use this to grow.
Jan 10, '07
I don't think that you will have difficulty finding a job at all....in fact, I worked with a nurse who used a cane at one hospice that I worked at. This job is more about your interpersonal and clinical skills and less about your physical skills. I agree with Medsurgnurse though that I would matter of factly mention your knee problem, but don't dwell on it. I'd tell my future employer that I don't anticipate any problem with doing the job and you'll probably be just fine. Good luck and let us know when you get that job!
Jan 10, '07
I know 2 hospice nurses who walk with a cane. One even have the 4 pronged cane.
The other nurse has the basic single-footed cane. Actually, several of them, so her cane always coordinates with her outfit, like shoes or a purse. Calls it her 'accessory' instead of a cane.
Jan 15, '07
have you considered Intake? Our intake nurses are mostly on the phone in the office. They do get out at times to meet with families prior to admission. You would have the patient/ family contact with less schlepping around. and it's an important job because you are the often first contact they have with hospice care.
Jan 23, '07
I agree with Jersey RN, at least until you fully recover (or get stronger). As long as you can physically do your job, according to the ADA (american with disabilites act) as long as you can perform the job, an organization can not use that as the reason to not hire you. Plus, I find that hospices tend to be more compassionate when it comes to people.
Jan 23, '07
Thank you everyone for your replies. They really boosted my confidence. It turns out that the knee was never really an issue for anyone except me. I didn't try to mask the condition either. It would have been a fruitless endeavor because I was in pain. I was offered several opportunites and settled on a position which I'm excited to be starting first week in February. I did buy the cane and used it a couple of times. I'm happy to report that the knee is on the mend, the pain has subsided, and I don't need the cane after all.
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