Hemophiliac Nurse

  1. Hi everyone! :-)

    I'm a senior nursing student at a university in New York.
    I'm currently looking to apply to hospitals in NYC.
    Some background information on me:

    I was born with Severe Hemophilia, spent most of my time in and out of hospitals growing up - this is what sparked my dream and desire to become a nurse.
    I know what it's like to be a patient, I've had ports in my chest, picc lines in my arms, I've accessed my ports since I was 10 years old. I'm very involved in my care. I've also been infusing myself peripherally on my own since I was 14 years old (3x a week!)*That's at least 1,200 needle sticks! (22 years old now).*
    This is a huge advantage I feel - and will definitely make me stand out when applying to hospitals as a nurse. What other new grads can say they've accessed ports since they were 10 years old and are pro's at placing IV's? lol!
    If I were to sit down at an interview, I'd love to tell my story; I've been through a lot as a patient, and I believe that is what has made me such a great nurse and patient advocate - I love nursing, and I love my patients.

    **However! Hemophilia is a disability, some days I may limp, or possibly not be able to walk. This may be something I wouldn't want to mention. It might count against me, at least I've been told by mentors. At the end of the day, a hospital is a business, and it has to run. Having me work at their hospital could be seen as a liability I guess.

    Should I tell my possible future employers my story? Or should I not mention it at all?

    Thank you! :-)
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   offlabel
    You surely would know more about the disease than most people that would hire you. If you were in the hiring chair, would you want to know?
  4. by   mrcleanscrubs
    offlabel ,

    Hello! Thank you for your reply!
    If I were in the hiring chair, I would definitely want to know; I would definitely hire the applicant because they obviously have the passion for nursing, the applicant has a disability that draws them closer to the patient, since the applicant has been a patient himself many times and knows what it is like.
    However, through my experience, I have found hiring managers to be very business oriented; not really concerned about the patients, but the nurses and how much the nurse can contribute or work.
    It's a cold way to think, it takes a very "black and white" kind of person to hire people, in my opinion.
    I really don't think mentioning it would be a good idea; but part of me really wants to.
    I'm torn :-/
  5. by   oceangirl1234
    I wouldn't necessarily mention it unless you get asked a specific question like "what made you want to become a nurse?" (and you want to disclose your story).
    Or if you are applying for a specific floor (such as hematology), then you may be able to incorporate some of your life experiences into your answers. I wouldn't say that having hemophilia would prevent you from getting the job (is that discrimination? I don't know).

    I have had a couple friends who have had childhood cancer and mentioned that in their interviews to help get a job on a bone marrow transplant unit and pediatric oncology unit. Gives you a bit of a shared experience from the patient's perspective. Just my opinion!
  6. by   amoLucia
    Some folk will say that "less is best". And I think I'm in that group.

    You don't want to give a prospective recruiter a chance to question your future attendance. Or if special accommodations will be nec to be made.

    Even since a disability shouldn't matter, you don't want ANYTHING to negatively color your chances.

    Even you, yourself, have mixed thoughts about revealing too much. Listen to you.
  7. by   Wuzzie
    This ^ Nope. Don't mention it. I can guarantee you the manager is going to see intermittent FMLA in your future with frequent call offs, work restrictions and accommodations that will make her life difficult, possibly alienate you from the staff and potential boundary issues. Best to keep this close to the vest as it makes you stand out in the wrong way.
  8. by   mrcleanscrubs
    oceangirl1234, BSN, RN ,

    Thank you for your response! That is exactly what I mean, you took the words from my mind. Like you said, It would just be a way to incorporate my life experiences and shared patient perspective. It definitely would be discrimination, but it is so hard to prove that an employer discriminated; it's done quite often unfortunately. I appreciate you opinion and advice! Thank you! :-)
  9. by   mrcleanscrubs
    amoLucia ,

    Hi! Thank you so much for your reply! You are right less is best! You definitely talked some sense into me; thank you! :-)
  10. by   mrcleanscrubs
    Wuzzie ,

    Hi! Thank you for your response!
    This is exactly what was in the back of my mind. You are right; I wouldn't want my life as a new nurse being a living hell. I should just keep it to myself. Thank you so much for talking some sense into me. :-)
  11. by   offlabel
    Quote from mrcleanscrubs
    offlabel ,

    Hello! Thank you for your reply!
    If I were in the hiring chair, I would definitely want to know; I would definitely hire the applicant because they obviously have the passion for nursing, the applicant has a disability that draws them closer to the patient, since the applicant has been a patient himself many times and knows what it is like.
    However, through my experience, I have found hiring managers to be very business oriented; not really concerned about the patients, but the nurses and how much the nurse can contribute or work.
    It's a cold way to think, it takes a very "black and white" kind of person to hire people, in my opinion.
    I really don't think mentioning it would be a good idea; but part of me really wants to.
    I'm torn :-/
    Well, logically speaking, if you can successfully complete your degree it would stand to reason that you could perform the duties of a job you're interested in, no? So, that being the case, you'd only be obliged to say something if you thought your situation would impede you from carrying out the expectations of your employer. And if that were the case, you probably wouldn't want to take the job in the first place.
  12. by   DowntheRiver
    I think you should feel the people out who are interviewing you. If you speak to a recruiter first, don't mention it to them.

    I had cancer at 22 and essentially that's why I became a nurse. In my current job working at a top ten cancer center, it was appropriate to mention it. I felt a warmth in the room, almost like an acceptance, and the interview went really well. In fact, my manager later told me that my confidence combined with my story showed a passion that left them stunned.

    I also needed to mention my illness because it caused some complications right after I graduated nursing school which prevented me from taking the NCLEX until 13 months after I graduated. I really truly believe that if your manager feels you are a right fit for the floor it will be a non-issue.
  13. by   NunNurseCat
    Wow you're awesome, such a determined person with real compassion.

    Yeah maybe don't mention it, though the day will come when you need to sit down and discuss it with the manager and tell your side of the story. Better for them to know what's up, then they can understand the situation and see your determination.

    Also if you don't ever bring it to their attention, then any absences might be viewed as shirking. Wondering "whats up with this person?" is a question that leaves many possibilities to the imagination.

    Finally if no one ever knows, then ADA doesn't help.
  14. by   RNNPICU
    One thing to think about would be the positions you are applying for. I would likely not mention unless it came up in the interview itself. I wouldn't necesarily say your diagnosis would draw you closer to your patients as that is not something you would want to disclose to everyone. Some hiring people just want you to have good references, good experiences, and an active license without restrictions.

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