Inactive RN with Latex Allergy and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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    I will be concise so I can get some advice (haha)!

    I graduated in 1997 with a BSN, a 3.59 GPA, and passed the boards first try (75 questions).

    I had a latex allergy since childhood but didn't know it was latex. When I got to clinicals my third year, it became apparent that I had a serious allergy. I made it through by buying vinyl gloves, avoiding contact, taking benadryl, and choosing rotations that required minimal hands-on stuff (psych, etc.). I didn't leave because I had been getting through school and supporting myself and my child on student loans.

    I graduated and took a job in an ob/gyn office. After 8 mos it was apparent that the latex was in the air too much. A job opened in administration as an educator and I took it. I was also in grad school pursuing a Master's in Community Health Nursing and finished 22 credits.

    Four months later the whole office got strep throat. I got rheumatoid arthritis. I left on disability because I could barely walk and the drugs weren't helping. I never came back. That was in March of 1999. I left school as well. My daughter is developmentally delayed and I was a single parent at the time. I was coming home from work and going to bed with my clothes on.

    I worked from Mar 2003 to Mar 2005 in an office, non-health-related, part-time, and from my house in the winter. I could not tolerate cold, snow, or rain and could barely walk or drive in the fall, winter, and spring.

    For the entire time since I left my job in 1999, I have run a business online selling books. I can't make a living on it, but I made ends meet with disability. I kept my student loans in deferrment, and what was $45K is now $75K and come October I will have to pay them back.

    Long story short, six weeks ago I went on Enbrel and my life changed. Now I want to go back to work. I feel like my pre-RA self. I walk my three dogs three miles a day. I volunteer 12 hrs a week at a historical society. I am a wife, a mother, and running my book business on top of that. I haven't had this much pain-free stamina and strength in nine years.

    How can I get a job with the latex allergy, very little clinical experience, an obvious gap in nursing employment of nine years, and have them trust that my RA won't be too difficult? One recruiter, who recruits for several area hospitals, said they will not place me on a floor with a latex allergy. I don't have enough clinical experience to really do anything. I am a good office person and extremely organized. My student loans are going to be $385/mo, and my mortgage is $600. I need to make the most money I can.

    Textbook-wise, I am confident. I read all the time and have above-average intelligence. When it comes to the machinery used now, I am clueless. I also need to brush up on my abbreviations but by no means do I feel I need to go to a college and take classes.

    I think I should apply to nursing homes as a new grad. I have been honest with recruiters about my RA and my latex allergy. I think working nights would be ideal because I could probably be a desk nurse. I can be on my feet, but I am afraid of someone coding on me, and I don't think I can spend 8 hours moving patients around.

    My license is valid, but I would need to take CPR and infection control, and hope that whoever is willing to take a chance on me can include this as part of orientation.

    I would like to be a research coordinator but all I have seen want experience.

    What paths can I pursue the easiest and best? Even though I am a day person, I wouldn't mind working nights because I have three doggies who don't like to be alone in the day (which my husband works 8-4) and he goes to bed by 11 and snores LOUD so I could do the night thing. I am thinking nursing homes or home care (but like I said, I don't want anyone with tubes all over them; I'm intimidated).

    HELP!!!!!

    Teresa
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    Try school nursing. If you really are smart & can think on your feet it would be great. It doesn't pay as well due to all the breaks but if you look at the pay per hour it's not that bad. I am latex allergic, never thought about doing pedi but I love it. It's like my own little ER - you never know what is going to walk in from kids, staff, and even school visitors. It's great. No lifting to speak of either just in case the RA returns. Now is the time to be applying for next school year. You might try to substitute if you don't get on right away. In my area they try to fill the vacancies by March so hurry & good luck!
    bk


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