Prospective male nurse with a lot of questions.

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    Hi everyone.

    I have a lot of worries going into the nursing field, and if these questions would be better suited in another forum please correct me.

    First off. I'm a disabled Veteran. In the Army I was a Ranger Medic - and I've found that the medical field is definitely for me, I love everything about it and I perform better in this field than I have in other fields of work.

    That being said, I have concerns about being as eligible as other nurses due to certain limitations I have.

    I fractured my femoral neck while in the military and had to have my hip pinned. As a result I burn out faster than your average person when it comes to activities such as lifting. On top of this I have a congenital narrow spine that can be problematic to the point of not being able to perform physical labor tasks at an acceptable rate.

    What I'm wondering is, are there any places in the nursing community for some one like me? Should I look into a different field of operation such as pharmacy technician? My main goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner - and I've not looked into if similar room for educational development exists in other medical fields that carry a similar education requirement as nursing. (i.e. a 3 year degree).

    Is there any bias within the actual acceptance into the nursing programs based around disabilities?

    I also have old (seven years and longer) priors on my record that include petty theft and drunk in public. I've already spoken with the California Board of Nursing on this and was told they would not be a problem with respect to becoming an RN. However, the person was fairly brief and I'd like to make sure that these won't suddenly impact me after a long period of hard work.

    On top of all of this I have tattoo's that would show in short sleeved scrubs. They are not offensive in any manner, and most of them have deep symbolic meaning towards myself and soldiers I've worked with who were killed in the line of duty. Removing them is not an option. Can anyone give advice into how that will affect my chances?

    I realize a lot of the feedback may be speculative information on your part, as nobody here knows the dress code policies or individual policies adhered to by schools. I still welcome anyone's opinion.

    Basically I'm wondering if I will be discriminated against based around my disabilities, or my tattoo's. From Nursing School and on.

    What can I do to ensure I have a leg up in other departments when being considered for the nursing school program? Perhaps to try and offset negative impacts that my issue's might cause.

    Thanks for your time!
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  3. 13 Comments so far...

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    The Federal and state laws requiring schools to make accomodations for disabilities are much tougher than those for employers -- I would not be concerned about getting into school (any more so than anyone else, that is), if I were you, but you may have more difficulty finding employment after you're licensed. Not that I'm saying I think you would have trouble -- I'm just saying that the laws regarding education pretty much require schools to do whatever is necessary to make it possible for anyone who wants to go to school to be able to, regardless, while employers are only required to make "reasonable accommodations," which ends up meaning "not much." Nursing, in general, is a physically taxing occupation -- and, while there certainly are jobs that aren't physically taxing, there is a lot of competition for those jobs and they typically require a fair amount of clinical experience to be considered qualified/eligible.

    Given your status as a disabled vet, you may well want to look into (when the time comes) working in the VA system -- they give preference to vets in general and disabled vets in particular when it comes to employment. The VA is also a terrific and highly desirable employer. Lots of other nurses are dying to get hired into the VA system -- and you would go to "the front of the line". Some VA hospitals have programs that pay for employee RNs to become NPs, also (in return for agreeing to keep working for the VA for a specified amount of time).

    There are a bunch of existing threads here about tattoos that you could find with the "search" feature if you want to review them. Basically, they certainly aren't a plus re: employment, but they aren't necessarily a handicap. Tattoo acceptance seems to be largely a matter of geography -- in some parts of the country (major cities, CA, the places you can pretty much predict ...) they are no big deal; in more conservative parts of the country, many employers require that they be covered at work or you might have difficulty getting hired. Bottom line, though, plenty of people with tattoos are pursuing successful careers in healthcare. In general, though, schools tend to be much stricter than employers about tattoos -- it's pretty safe to assume you would be required to cover your tattoos for clinicals in school.

    BTW, you may want to look at this thread, if you haven't already:

    http://allnurses.com/government-mili...me-270082.html

    Best wishes for your journey!
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    Thank you for the link Elkpark.

    Unfortunately I've been out of the military for a few years now, and while I may be able to still challenge the LVN - I feel that I would benefit from going through a more traditional route to shake the cobwebs off.

    All of your feedback is appreciated, though. I was actually planning to apply at either free clinics or the VA after graduation because of my disabled status.

    What concerned me more, despite listing them last. Were my tattoo's and prior history record.
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    Technically .. by law i think? ..... Nurses are not allowed to manual lift anything greater than ... 25-35 lbs in NJ ... this includes even sliding the patient up .. you must use a maxislide ... if you get caught doing super man lifting you get some sort of punishment ... well that's what the occupational health nurse told my class yesterday ... the hospital spent mucho $$$$ so nurses are suppose to use it
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    This "advice" is coming from someone who just graduated and passed their boards, so take it with an extra grain of salt. Given your physical limitations, if your goal is to become an NP, you might want to consider a direct-entry MSN program- although you'd have to work with the school (and whoever agrees to employ you after you pass NCLEX-RN) to reconcile your disabilities with the requirements of clinicals and work experience during the RN portion of the program. These programs all require that you have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, so direct entry wouldn't be an option if you don't already have a BA or BS. ElkPark may be able to comment on this more accurately than I can, but a growing number of hospitals (esp. large teaching hospitals) are investing in "no lift" technology that is at least supposed to ease the physical strain required to transfer patients. Maybe that technology could be part of how a facility makes reasonable accommodations for you. Also, if you want to go the mid-level provider route, you might also want to consider PA school. There are more pre-requisites involved, but I think you might fare better in a PA program since PA's aren't required to lift on a regular basis and have significantly more clinical hours than some NP programs. In other words, you wouldn't have to rely heavily on bedside RN experience to go the PA route, whereas having 3+ years of beside RN experience would make you a much stronger NP. Plus, you were a ranger medic in the army, so that experience may very well count toward the admissions requirements of many PA programs (ie- that you have so many hours or years of experience in a health care occupation providing direct patient care). Anyone with more experience than me is free to correct any factual inaccuracies I may have written. Hope this helps.
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    Quote from DirtyBlackSocks
    Basically I'm wondering if I will be discriminated against based around my disabilities, or my tattoo's. From Nursing School and on.
    in general, nursing schools are much tougher (they want them all covered up) on tattoos than employers (some employers don't care much, as long as, they're not satanic, nude, etc).

    with that said, even with nursing schools, they're not really worried about them until you hit labs/clinicals.
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    Quote from edogs334
    Also, if you want to go the mid-level provider route, you might also want to consider PA school. There are more pre-requisites involved, but I think you might fare better in a PA program since PA's aren't required to lift on a regular basis and have significantly more clinical hours than some NP programs. In other words, you wouldn't have to rely heavily on bedside RN experience to go the PA route, whereas having 3+ years of beside RN experience would make you a much stronger NP. Plus, you were a ranger medic in the army, so that experience may very well count toward the admissions requirements of many PA programs (ie- that you have so many hours or years of experience in a health care occupation providing direct patient care). Anyone with more experience than me is free to correct any factual inaccuracies I may have written. Hope this helps.
    PA (physician's assistant) is a good option that I didn't even think of (I guess because I'm a nurse and the OP was asking about nursing ). No bedside nursing component at all. And the OP's experience/background would be desirable -- the whole PA concept was originally developed to capitalize on the skills of medics returning from Viet Nam and give them a way to translate those skills into civilian employment.
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    However, Nurse Practitioners are more autonomous than PA's. At least in the western states, they don't need physician oversight to open their own practice or prescribe meds within their speciality.

    I think you can find nursing work that doesn't strain you too much, as you continue on the route to nurse practitioner. That's my goal, as well.
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    Thank you for the replies.

    I'm married with a son, so the PA program is out of the question simply because of the wait list coupled with the additional school.

    I can't be in school forever. I need to find a field that yields a job within the next 3 years, but still offers room for growth through school while working.
  12. 0
    Quote from DirtyBlackSocks
    Thanks for your time!

    Thank you for your service.


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