I am curious as to how many of the members of this bb are nurses or nursing students with disabilities. By disabilities, I am including congenital problems, injury-related problems, or work-related injuries that have resulted in that person's inability to perform regular nursing tasks without accomodation or the inability to perform bedside nursing at all.
I am a 25 year veteran of healthcare, 20 of which have been as a RN. I sustained an initial back injury at age 18 while working my first job as a nurses' aide and now have severe thoracic and lumbo-sacral stenosis, disc herniation and degenerative disc disease/arthritis. I have been through PT and surgery is not currently an option due to the rehabilitation time and the fact that I carry all of our health benefits and cannot afford COBRA for that period of time at present. I have worked staff as well as management positions, but chose to return to staff nursing about 1-1/2 years ago in an effort to refresh my skills. Unfortunately, my back isn't able to handle it--even in an ICU setting where there is a smaller patient load. Now it's a question of finding a position that I am able to do and that I am not "overqualified" for. Believe it or not, even in this nursing shortage, it's tough to find a physically lighter position! I am fearful of revealing anything about my physical limitations to a potential employer, although a pre-employment physical exam as well as how poorly I am able to move some days would definitely show how advanced this problem is. I have contemplated applying for SSI disability, but I don't think I meet the criteria as it relates to my ability to learn a new job or to find something less physical in my current area of expertise. I have been forced to resign from 2 positions within the past year due to my back and am now having a really tough time finding something. It's humiliating as well as depressing.....
Have any of you ever faced these challenges? How did you handle them? What did you finally end up doing in order to obtain gainful employment?
Thanks for any input or advice any of you may have.