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Back Injuries

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I was recently in a car accident and curious about back injuries and nursing. I'm a current LPN student with dreams of becoming a RN. if hypothetically I'm diagnosed with a back impairment can i still work in the field as a nurse? Any one face similar situations (

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Cynt87, you didn't mention how much the accident has affected your back. If it is a muscle-related injury, and does not involve a vertebral fracture or major nerve damage, you may find that long term it will not affect becoming a RN. That said, as you are a LPN you may need to do all you can, first, to recover completely before doing any heavy lifting, and then, to build strength in your core: abdominal, back and upper leg muscles. Some recent clinical RN positions list lifting/ positioning weight requirements up to 250 lbs. This may not mean every lifting/ shifting movement would be this great but it does reflect the realities for many bedside nurses. Any certified fitness trainer or physical therapist can describe the best exercises for rebuilding back strength after an injury. Take it slow but be faithful to your exercise regimen; it will take more time than you think.

Most RN programs, even "bridge" programs, will require clinicals as part of your course work so you may face some lifting in your RN training. Be honest with your clinical instructors about any lifting limits and make sure you have enough help to perform lifts safely. When I was in my program I was recovering from a neck injury involving my right arm; my instructors cut my limit to half of what the MD recommended. Yes, I did encounter one faculty member with a very negative attitude, but she was the only one. I had had some years of experience as a CNA and EMT, so most faculty told me they were sure I knew how to lift and that being a RN was more about brain than strain. Once you have your degree and license you can decide on a career path that reflects the limitations of your back or the concerns you have about possible re-injury.

If your injury is major and a permanent one, be sure to discuss disability accommodations with the college/ university admissions representative when you apply for entry to the RN program. You may need to submit documentation substantiating any disability, but nursing schools/ departments are required to comply with federal law just as the rest of the institution must. Reasonable accommodations at clinical sites are usually negotiable as long as your condition does not limit the majority of essential job functions or compromise safety. 'Best wishes for your progress healing; be patient and keep moving towards your goal!

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143 Posts; 4,541 Profile Views

Cynt87, you didn't mention how much the accident has affected your back. If it is a muscle-related injury, and does not involve a vertebral fracture or major nerve damage, you may find that long term it will not affect becoming a RN. That said, as you are a LPN you may need to do all you can, first, to recover completely before doing any heavy lifting, and then, to build strength in your core: abdominal, back and upper leg muscles. Some recent clinical RN positions list lifting/ positioning weight requirements up to 250 lbs. This may not mean every lifting/ shifting movement would be this great but it does reflect the realities for many bedside nurses. Any certified fitness trainer or physical therapist can describe the best exercises for rebuilding back strength after an injury. Take it slow but be faithful to your exercise regimen; it will take more time than you think.

Most RN programs, even "bridge" programs, will require clinicals as part of your course work so you may face some lifting in your RN training. Be honest with your clinical instructors about any lifting limits and make sure you have enough help to perform lifts safely. When I was in my program I was recovering from a neck injury involving my right arm; my instructors cut my limit to half of what the MD recommended. Yes, I did encounter one faculty member with a very negative attitude, but she was the only one. I had had some years of experience as a CNA and EMT, so most faculty told me they were sure I knew how to lift and that being a RN was more about brain than strain. Once you have your degree and license you can decide on a career path that reflects the limitations of your back or the concerns you have about possible re-injury.

If your injury is major and a permanent one, be sure to discuss disability accommodations with the college/ university admissions representative when you apply for entry to the RN program. You may need to submit documentation substantiating any disability, but nursing schools/ departments are required to comply with federal law just as the rest of the institution must. Reasonable accommodations at clinical sites are usually negotiable as long as your condition does not limit the majority of essential job functions or compromise safety. 'Best wishes for your progress healing; be patient and keep moving towards your goal!

Thank you for your input. I was waiting on the mRI to take place along with the results. Seems I have 7 bulging discs and 1 herniated disc and a muscle spasm. My doctor has me meeting with an neurologist soon so I'll know what my options are then. It's pretty painful. i currently can't work as a CNA and I have been accommodated for clinicals so far. I guess it's a waiting game to see how far the injury goes.

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