Nursing career with back/knee injuries?

  1. I have lower back (Spondylolisthesis) and knee injuries (Osteoarthritis/Chondromalacia) that make heavy lifting quite risky and am concerned that I may not be able to perform all job duties as a nurse.

    I am wondering if this is a valid concern, or if there are employment opportunities which would not entail heavy lifting and which I could perform despite my injuries. Any information would be most appreciated.

    Gratefully,

    Kirsten
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   llg
    It is a valid concern -- particularly if you are just starting your career. There are plenty of jobs within nursing that a person with phyisical limitations can do. However, many of them require a few years of bedside nursing to get -- and getting that bedside experience might be a problem for you.

    Your post does not say whether you are an experienced nurse or whether you are a brand new student. If you are a student, I would strongly suggest that you get good documentation from your physician as to your physical abilities and limitations and make sure that your school is OK with them. I knew someone in a wheelchair who became a nurse: so, it is possible. However, you might need to make special arrangements, etc. and be prepared to follow a less than typical career path after graduation. You should discuss the issues with your school and with other local nursing experts to find out about the possible opportunities for someone with your limitations in your area. You might find that there are several good opportunities. However, depending upon where you live, there might not be -- and nursing might not be a wise career choice for you.

    If you are already an experienced nurse, then there are plenty of options -- such as educational positions, telephone triage, case management, etc. that don't require a lot of phyiscal strength. You might need some additional education to qualify for some of these positions, but there are plenty of them out there.

    Good luck,
    llg
    Last edit by llg on Jun 28, '04
  4. by   Quickbeam
    I am an RN with physical disabilities that preclude lifting. However, I got this way 10 years after I became a nurse so I had that decade of floor nursing behind me. That enables me to get a range of jobs including my current community health position, which I love.

    I checked with my school of nursing and they still have an "able body" clause in their admission process, requiring appilcants to be physically able to train for all aspects of nursing. I believe they have been able to retain this in an age of ADA because nursing as a whole is a physical job, and it is an essential function. I suggest you contact your prospective school of nursing and ask. Requirements may vary from school to school.
  5. by   kirsten35
    I just wanted to thank you both for taking the time to respond to my inquiry! I greatly appreciate your advice and will implement your suggestions by speaking to my adviser asap!

    With immense gratitude,

    Kirsten

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