Loves Critical Care But Has Spinal Condition

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I have been an ICU RN for several years now and I absolutely love bedside Critical Care. My 10 year plan was to get my AGACNP and work as an NP to our CC Intensivists group for a decade or so, while pursuing my doctorate in Nursing education (local university requirement for for educators). However, I have recently been diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition that causes me extreme pain with ambulatory, leaning, bending, lifting, pushing or pulling. (It hurts to lift a gallon of milk, or push an empty shopping cart). I don't want to leave the bedside, as I love direct patient care, but I don't see how I can physically continue to do my job without being able to reach up to hang IV drips, lean in to push IV meds or help adjust patients in the bed. Any advice for (nearly) sedentary nursing positions while I pursue further education?

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

 Dear Loves Critical Care,

I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis, and it will change what you're able to do, but there are many options in nursing. 

There are absolutely jobs you can do from a desk. There's telephonic nursing, such as advice nurse, triage nurse and utilization review. Some case management jobs can be performed remotely on the computer.

Target employers such as insurance companies and register on to get an idea of what's available. You can also consider an ICU educator job which would enable you to remain in acute care, if you are able to manage some walking. Unlike direct patient care, you could schedule your walking times and sit when needed.

Once you get your doctorate you'll be well qualified for academic positions that don't require direct patient care.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Specializes in Progressive Care Unit. Step down from ICU..

Laminectomies and partial laminectomies in 2015. In 2020 titanium plate used for cervical fusion. Have 2 more levels to fuse, one above  and one below current fusion.This year 2021, fused from S1 to T10 with 2 titanium rods. Loved Progressive Care nursing. It’s 4 months after surgery and they are sending me to Orthopedic surgeon for my left hip, bone on bone. I’m keeping all of my options open. I need to find out the baseline for what I can do after rehab for everything. There must be some job I can do with all my experience. I may have to get more school first but there is something I can do. I just have to find it. I feel like you can too. It may be much different than you’re used to but at least you can find meaning for your life.