Nurse with disabilities trying to find a job that fits

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    Hi all. It has been a while since I have posted. I have been a nurse for 14 years. Have tried everything from M/S to tele to teaching at the college level. I now work at a busy outpatient wound care clinic. I have MS, Crohn's Disease and hypoparathyroidism from thyroid cancer surg. Sorry to complain, but I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Tried to go back on SSD. Problem is I am married and my husband is on SSD too for DDD of the entire spine. We can both be on SSD, can get medicare (that doesn't cover all of our expenses) can't get medicaid b/c we make too much a month(even for a spend down). Problem is, if the CD doesn't flair up the MS does(that's how I lost the college teaching job... too much time sick or in the hospital).
    This job I have now is physically demanding, very stressful(been there a month and keep getting "spoken to" because of my mistakes(not all mine).
    I've tried getting into case management for insurance(no luck, no experience). Same with legal nurse consulting. Don't want to divorce my hubby(yes, people have told me to do that).
    I am so depressed. This is NOT why I spent 8 years going from an AAS to an MS with NP degree(it is in gerontology no one wants a GNP. they want an ANP of FNP and I have close to 100,000 in loans now....Plus a COBRA payment of 600/month....Did I mention that is job is only per diem no benefits? I am paying for COBRA from my last job).
    Maybe I just needed to vent. I thank anyone who cared to listen. I appreciate it.
  2. 24 Comments so far...

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    I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. I think someone with your experience and education would be an excellent case manager. I believe a long work history and education history signals older nurse to a potential employer. I wonder if removing some of the older experiences and some of the degrees would help. Of course, it would effect salary, but perhaps it may lead to a more favorable job that is more accomodating to your disabilities. I'm not sure if omiting the information is a good idea because employers typically perform background checks. Perhaps someone else can add to this.
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    I am not much help, but wanted to say good luck to you. I was on SSD for 2 years and felt well enough to go back to work, except now I am not doing very well. I am not trained to do anything else. I have been a nurse for 26 years. SSD simply does not pay enough to survive. Hopefully, something will present itself.
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    I am considering going to get my LPN. That is all I am able to do. I have Asthma. I had an acl problem but it healed itself. I am just wanting to know for LPN what the physical is? A former RN friend scared me about the physical for RNs. She said if you have or they find something wrong and they drew blood.. you have to fix whatever they find some how before you continue on. Even if you have no health care and I don't. Can't afford it. I thought.. it would just be bending, drug urine test, ears, nose, throat and eyes. Please for warn me.. Also.. do you know anyone who failed the physical? My friend told me she knew many new nurses with health problems. Someone recently told me what does intelligence have to do with health, stating people are human and have things wrong. Thanks.
  6. 2
    Not sure what your friend is talking about. many people are nurses with various health issues and they didn't have to be 'fixed' before being employed
    elprup and afjgnp like this.
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    Dear afjgnp...I am so sorry to hear that you are having problems and I know where you are coming from! I can totally understand your frustration. I, too, am in a similar situation. I have been looking for work I can do as an RN for almost 4 years now. I have a spinal cord injury with 2 herniated discs and a flattened spinal cord and impinged nerve in my neck. I have a 15 pound weight lift restriction and am not to sit or stand for any length of time and cannot do anything repetitive. After trying to fight my way through and thinking I could do it all by myself, I had to swallow hard and admit I needed help. I am in the process of working with Vocational Rehabilitation. I filed an application and have done my testing. I am currently awaiting another meeting with my counselor so that we can find my place in the world. I can't believe I waited so long to do this! They make sure that your needs are met in your new job (that they help you get!) and they follow you for three months to make sure the job is a good fit before "cutting you loose". They help you get the training or assistance you need to find the perfect job to fit your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact them! Good luck to you and hugs!!
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    Babynurse, I tried to get into vocational rehabtilitation. I went through VESID( vocational educational services for individuals with disabilities). Since I used them for my BSN and partially for my Master's I don't know if I can use them. The Vesid office where I live has an 8 week waiting list. I can't go 8 weeks without a pay check, the I am freaking out now because I had to take a week off for an MS excerbation, I OD on Immodium because I don't want to have a "code brown" in the middle of clinic.I am so so sorry because of your spinal injury. My hubby has Degrenative Disk Diease in the whole spine(bone agaist bone) I Know how painful that is. I am so sorry to whine, I want to work, but not work to death( I get one day off a month and paying for COBRA). I interviewed for a case manager postion, they didn't want me No you don't have to be "fixed" before you become employed.
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    No need to apologize. Soemtimes I think that someone in the same profession is the only one who can truly understand how it is to be in a position that causes great pain, but also the thought of having to do something else causes a different kind of great pain! I have used Voc Rehab in the past when the original accident occurred. It doesn't seem to be a problem. But it is always worth asking. Even if you are not using them for schooling, they might be able to help you get in to get experience for case management. You obviously cannot keep going the way things currently are without causing yourself great distress and, honestly, it's not worth it. I know that there have been changes in disability lately and they have where you can work a small amount of hours and still get disability. Hopefully Voc Rehab could help you get an at home job with an insurance company,etc. and make things better for you. Am keeping you an your family in my prayers and hoping you find a better way quickly!
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    The vocational rehab encouraged you to take out $100,000 in student loans while disabled? I'm sorry you find yourself in this position. I hope you are able to get a job that you can do. It is a crime the way people are encouraged to go back to school to pursue their dream, take out loans and don't worry about the future, it will work itself out. I would avoid caution with student loans in general but especially when your on disability or in poor health! Student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and they will even garnish your SSI or SS. Even if your declared disabled that is still not enough to get the student loan monkey off your back. They will still garnish your SSI and you will be forced to appeal to try to get them to stop!

    Instead of pushing more student loans, the DVR should be working to get people employed, ie employment agency not a college recruiter!

    Have you tried getting a job as an NP for a nursing home/assisting living. They have such jobs out there and that should complement your gerontology NP.
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Oct 3, '12
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    I have to agree with you, Brandy! I am 51 and am NOT interested in a BSN or MSN at this point of my life. The money that would have to go out would not be justified! I am hoping that afjgnp has the ability to use what she has to find something else that she can do with the education she has. I am surprised that they are not interested in a GNP. Florida might be a great place for that!!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.


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