Jobs for disabled nurses

  1. I mostly work in an electric wheelchair at the moment, as an LPN in a nursing home, but very very shortly I will have my RN and I'm looking around to see what kind of jobs I can do. I have lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and I can walk a fair bit, but my lungs are not the best. I have always worked as a VA hospital nurse until the last 3 years, so my knowledge of other nursing jobs is a bit skimpy.

    I'm looking for suggestions; so far my colleagues have suggested case manager, community health, and school nurse. I really love the school nurse idea but unfortunately in my community it pays....$14k a year...I can't afford that. I'd love any ideas that you all might have. Thanks a lot!
  2. Visit Cobweb profile page

    About Cobweb

    Joined: Apr '07; Posts: 244; Likes: 464
    Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialist; from US


  3. by   mammaoftwo
    I know that case management is an option here in Kentucky, however, I am not sure what is required to do so.

    I wish you the best!
  4. by   edgwow
    What about a large medical insurance company, they do phone triage for precertifications.
  5. by   Quickbeam
    I have a mobility impairment (due to JRA) and work as a community heath nurse. I could do my job in a wheelchair, which may be necessary in a few years.

    I'm not sure what awaits a new RN with a disability. I only got my job because I had 20 years of experience and an unusual amount of non-nursing professional expertise that this job required. Also, a BSN does open doors to less clinical nursing roles in my region.

    Salary? Almost all non-hospital nursng jobs I've had paid less than clinical RN jobs. I took a 10K pay cut from hospital to community health. Case management paid pretty well. In my experience, the best pension and health care benefits (which I needed) came with gov't jobs.
    Last edit by Quickbeam on Apr 9, '07
  6. by   wilbur's mom
    I have lupus, too, and after 20 years of ICU, transitioned into teaching. I teach high school CNA students and a Health Careers class. I accepted the job half time and up front about my lupus. I know an LPN who worked until retirement after spinal fusion passing meds only in an assisted living home. I also worked with a supervising nurse who had MS. She worked full time ADON, and kept her scooter plugged in and ready to go in our office. Managing our work load is key to wellness. Case management is alot of paperwork and scheduling/agency coordinators are on the phone alot, and many positions are advertised for full or part time. Call and ask about job sharing, too. Good Luck.
  7. by   Cobweb
    I don't want any kind of supervisory position; I really suck at it. I'm best at floor nursing but that may not be an option for much longer; however, some kind of patient advocate deal would be right up my alley and I have the experience to back it up (years of cardiopulmonary and med-surg plus tons of psych experience). That's why I thought case management or community health might be OK--but I'm not really sure what all the job entails. I could probably stay at the nursing home where I'm at, but I'm strongly motivated towards community service and helping the impoverished.

    Anyway, thanks again! Those tips are much appreciated!
  8. by   P_RN
    May I ask your age? At 55 I found it hard to convince people it was just my legs that held me back, my brain and arms were fine. I got a lot of creative rejections though.

    Triage is the one thing I did not look into, mainly because I HATE telephones (was a long distance operator back in the olden days when the boards had cords you plugged in)
  9. by   Cobweb
    Lol, I hate phones too!

    I'm 46--I've outlived my prognosis over 3 years so far, and my doctor keeps saying, "Are you still working!?!" I carefully don't mention that to my employer ;p I can extend my worklife by getting some kind of desk job, though, preferably in a little office all by myself
  10. by   dawson1983
    I was reading an article on (well I think it was an article) - it was about how some northern hospitals haven't yet graduated to accessiblity standards yet... seems strangely ironic really.

    I'm disabled and would love a job in nursing again, really do miss it!
  11. by   RN1263
    What about home health rn? you said you have nursing experience already?
    and if you can walk a bit then you shouldn't need the scooter from your car to their house, right?
    I have M.S. and i'm graduating in a few weeks from an rn program so i sympathize!
    good luck
  12. by   sphinx
    I also have RA (as well as fibromyalgia), and last year was on short term disability from my job (in the ICU) for 6 months.......this website was recommended to me: and has some good resources for nurses who have disabilities. In my case, I never went back to the ICU, instead transferring to a clinic in a PACE program owned by the same company. It is less physically stressful, but not easy-luckily my meds have made a huge difference and I am no longer hobbling around on a cane. I still have flares, which have been manageable for the most part. I did have to go to part time though (56 hours/2 weeks), and after working 2-3 days in a row, my next day off I generally crash almost all day "recovering".

    Good luck to you in your search!
  13. by   Cobweb
    Thanks, all Great site, Sphinx!
  14. by   Ophelia78
    My mother injured her back lifting an obese patient years ago. She can no longer lift more than 8 pounds since the injury. She's worked in case management ever since. Many hospital case management jobs seem to require several years of recent acute care experience. In my state, every county has a local Area on Aging that has RN case managers. You do earn less than a hospital, but it can be very rewarding.