A Disabled Nurse, is there hope?

  1. 1
    I would think so! What about checking out the "phone triage" jobs that many RN's fill. It would involve taking a designated number of shifts on call for answering the phone regarding a wide array of health related questions. I work in Western Michigan, and a few of the nurses I used to work with who couldn't deal with the stress on the bod/mind and soul that hospital work imparts--took jobs working as phone triage nurses. The job provided a computer in their home enabling them to work from home. It displays all the algorhthyms for different types of health related concerns and steers the patient in the right direction. It is an up and coming field that helps direct patients more appropriately to (or away from) the ER and Drs. offices. I would call your local health alliance and see if they have any phone nurse opportunities that you could fill. Even if you filled in on holidays or weekends it might be just what you are looking for to augment your income. I empathize with your predicament. I have been writing EVERY nursing organization, political group etc. I can to ask the question: How is it that nurses who dedicate their life careers dealing with the health care needs of our community--can be cast aside by the health care industry--specifically in their retirement? A nursing career still does not provide the benefits in retirement that many other professional careers do. The benefit structure exists on a 1950's mentality--where the women were not the bread winners. At that time, a nurses best option for a retirement plan was marriage. So, are we ever going to get this convoluted health care industry up to speed with the new millenium workforce of nurses? It better happen STAT if we hope to retain and recruit incoming to nursing. I wish you the best. I encourage you to write your story up and submit it to the many nursing journals around. It is important to get your voice heard--to draw attention to this injustice in our nursing profession.
    WindRunner likes this.
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  4. 10 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Guess I will begin with a brief history. 41 y/o female from Missouri. Practiced as an LPN for 17 years. Became an RN with an ADN in 1996. Worked primarly ER/Trauma. Had goals to proceed to certification and BSN. I now find myself disabled. Because of my employment situation at time of disability, I have no health coverage, and being married to a well paid LPN, I do not qualify for public assistance.

    The purpose of this posting is 3 fold I think. (lol)
    #1 I need support and help, (very hard for a nurse to admit.)
    #2 Is there a carerr out there for a wheelchair dependant nurse whose mind is without impaiment.
    #3 Offer a warning to fellow nurses, be prepared and anticipate everything.

    By the way, my disability is due most likely to spending 25 of my 41 years working in a profession that is hard on the body. So many of my lumbar disc are degenerating that there is no intervention. Take care of yourself.
    WindRunner likes this.
  6. 0
    These things, when they happen, change our whole outlook on ourselves. They are definitely the road we never wanted to take. Margaret Newman, a nursing theorist, proposes that illness, particularly chronic illness, poses unique opportunities for growth. Can be hard to see that from the perspective of being in the midst of the crisis.

    Career-wise, phone triage, getting a BSN, case management, DME (durable medical equipment sales or service [depending on your mobility] or a career switch all come to mind.

    I am a former case manager for tech dependent children and I would also encourage you to really become an advocate for yourself and make sure that you are aware as you can be of resources that might be helpful to you. I gather you are uninsured and not disability eligible. I would still talk to a local rehab hospital or doctor to make sure that you have a wheel chair (if you are 100% wheelchair dependent) that meets your needs and see if you could access some career counseling and support resources. Consider a social worker as a point of contact, but PT's and some OT's have the real expertise in w/c fitting. They (the SW) might be able to direct you to free or low cost resources (vocational rehabilitation) to help you. Helping someone who wants to work reach maximum employability is a boon to the system and, of course, the individual.

    If you haven't, take time to mourn your losses. Again, if the folks in rehab can direct you to free support groups for people who have experienced life changing events, GO THERE. It will help you to experience your pain, see others and how they have coped or failed to cope and give you ideas for resources and coping.

    Consider reading "Over my Head" a book by a doctor that experienced a head injury and had to re-evaluate her career and a lot of other things, if reading is a way you learn about situations and cope with them. Notice in your world, how many people do anything they want to from a wheel chair, but they learn about ADAPTATION.

    You are correct, we are all a split second away from having our lives change forever. There is no preparation, no anticipation that we can engage in.

    Take some of those nursing skills and use them to advocate for yourself. Keep us posted and let us know how things are going. You are embarking on a journey of change. Good luck.
  7. 0
    Thanks Molly for your reply. I guess this bulletin board is one of the many new ways I am being my own advocate. I am currently receiving Social Security disability, but I do not qualify for public assistance and I am "uninsurable". Some may be saying why is this woman here talking to us. Mostly it is a form of coping and coming to grips with what is happening. It is this forum that helps me see where I am and where I am going. Until recently I had determined that I could not work due to body function and pain, now I am seeking answers that will let me work, and do the one thing I most enjoy in life, being a nurse. Please, everyone continue to respond and help me, I am very greatful. Thanks T FannRN
  8. 0
    I agree with the above posts which were EXCELLENT as usual Nurses are top of their game. As someone said adaptation is key ...thing of nursing DIFFERENTLY. IE what you do with your brain not just physically..I do pediatric phone triage, managed care,call center nursing, legal nurse consulting etc and much to my saddness do not touch a patient...all requires brain /experience/computer skills and you all ready have these. E-mail me if you need any specifics on what I do but please see the glass half FULL! Best of luck
  9. 0
    phone nursing is a good choice. here in New Hampshire, I was offered a job making about 20/hr with 401k matching etc........but the hours were 10-7p, I have to be around for the kids. But doesn't it sound great? Look into it..........
    God Bless and good luck!
    Lisa
  10. 0
    hello, saw your message and i am on oxygen...been in nursing 40+ years. studying legal nursing....need quick employment...husband had brain surgery....out 2 years and on disability and need direction...thanks, mg
  11. 0
    Quote from career_on_hold
    Guess I will begin with a brief history. 41 y/o female from Missouri. Practiced as an LPN for 17 years. Became an RN with an ADN in 1996. Worked primarly ER/Trauma. Had goals to proceed to certification and BSN. I now find myself disabled. Because of my employment situation at time of disability, I have no health coverage, and being married to a well paid LPN, I do not qualify for public assistance.

    The purpose of this posting is 3 fold I think. (lol)
    #1 I need support and help, (very hard for a nurse to admit.)
    #2 Is there a carerr out there for a wheelchair dependant nurse whose mind is without impaiment.
    #3 Offer a warning to fellow nurses, be prepared and anticipate everything.

    By the way, my disability is due most likely to spending 25 of my 41 years working in a profession that is hard on the body. So many of my lumbar disc are degenerating that there is no intervention. Take care of yourself.
    Do not spend your time searching for something or not getting additional education. I battled with an insurance company for eight years before they settled. Then I got caught having to help my parents remain somewhat independent. I didn't return to graduate school until 2000, when I was fifty-five. I made in half way thru when a health problem pu8t a stop to that plan. You are young enough to return to school. Try contacting your state's Department of Vocational Assistance for their help.

    Woody
  12. 6
    I was disabled at 42, bedridden, totally dependent, had to learn to walk again, cut my meat, bathe etc. Changed my dominance from R to L for most things. Was on SSDI for 10 years and told over and over I was never going to return to work, let alone nursing. However, I never could "accept" that I would never do anything but sit in front of a TV and eat bon-bons until I was 102! My brain still worked. I was so frustrated I can't tell you! Oh, and by the way, there's a nursing shortage out there! And here I was, not able to do a thing on my extensive, diverse resume. (I'd been in some form of healthcare since age 14) Well 8 surgeries, 10 years of SSDI with 5 of those years in PT grad school with a year off in the middle for major spinal cord crush again, the support of my disabled son, a psychologist and Vocational Rehabilitation Rehab, I am here to testify that you CAN live again:-)! I'm now a psychiatric MH NP. All the misery and angst I endured over those 10 years that seemed so senseless now makes PERFECT sense! I understand my patients so well. I've been where they are. I've lived in poverty and pain and struggled to get from day to day, from hour to hour. It's humbling and gives you much more compassion for your fellow man. Now that I am where I am, I run a charity out of my home for the indigent and disadvantaged, those struggling like I struggled-- clothing, new and gently used, school supplies, food, small household items to help someone start over. I moved from Vermont to NC to help relieve my chronic pain and found I could get away without my cane for the most part down here. That was a welcome plus. Read Proverbs 3 and trust that God has a plan for you, too. You are in my prayers. Hang in there.
  13. 0
    wonderful post dogwood


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