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[Mini RANT] Crappy Vocational Rehab Counselor Refuses to Approve of me being in Nursing

Disabilities   (8,176 Views 37 Comments)
by Natiel Natiel (New Member) New Member

979 Visitors; 19 Posts

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I'm pretty annoyed. Sorry if this is in the wrong forum!

ANYWAYS. I'm Nathan, 20 years old, bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss due to meningitis antibiotics.

The state I live in, California, has a department called "Department of Vocational Rehab", which helps disabled people find jobs and education necessary for those jobs.

When you enter the system, you are assigned a Counselor. Mine is ehh, but he really crossed the line when I said I wanted to be a RN, he said "No. There are communication issues and discrimination against disabled nurses. Also, some of my previous clients tried nursing, and they dropped the job before you could say 'nurse'. Pick something else!"

I even said I was willing to use an ASL interpreter (and a paper/pen as well!) but he still said no...

I don't really care about discrimination towards me. If i'm helping people as a nurse, that's all I need.

Keep in mind my counselor, who is deaf, serves the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community in my county. I'm particularly annoyed about him comparing me to his previous clients. I mean, they're not me, and I'm not them!

He gave me 2 alternative career choices: Lab tech or sonographer... HELL NO!

I have another meeting with him on April 18. What do I say to get him to budge?!

If nothing works, I can always talk to his supervisor directly. I want to try to make him budge first, though... Ugh.

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loriangel14 works as a hospital floor nurse..

6 Likes; 1 Follower; 35,840 Visitors; 6,922 Posts

I could see it being a problem. Would you expect an employer would hire an ASL interpreter to follow you around during your shift? Verbal communication and being able to hear are a very important part of the job. You say profound hearing loss so I expect aides are of no assistance.

Edited by loriangel14

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LadyFree28 has 10+ years experience and works as a Clinical Nurse.

9 Likes; 74,931 Visitors; 8,427 Posts

I hope that there are nurses out here on this forum that can help give your their take.

I need more info....do you have hearing aids? Are able to communicate well enough in situations where you are able to interpret what will be asked of you? Will you be able to hear an assessment, verbally and auditory with accommodations?

I understand your frustration with your counselor comparing you to other clients; however, put it into perspective...will you be able to have the adequate accommodations to completed nursing school?

Research and see if you have all those resources available to you.

Best wishes.

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390 Visitors; 14 Posts

Hearing a a huge part of nursing. Being able to hear the soft faint sounds of crackles in the lungs or the diffrence between good lung sounds and diminished or absent lung sounds is crucial. Not to mention the subtle changes in a heart beat like a murmur that goes missed a lot even with the best of hearing and a good stethascope. I don't believe he is discriminating do much as he is being honest. If you don't have enough hearing to be able to use a stethascope to assess and be able to clearly communicate with your patient, then nursing may not be a good choice. Have you considered social work, they too work in the hospital and impact lives in a huge way helping them find resources and assistance they need to live a quality life at home.

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979 Visitors; 19 Posts

Hearing aids help, actually. I can hear everything (LITERALLY everything) in my left ear, but my right ear gets muffled.

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979 Visitors; 19 Posts

Will you be able to hear an assessment, verbally and auditory with accommodations?

Luckily, my hearing aids are DAI compatible, which means I can plug them into a stethoscope and ONLY the sound from the stethoscope will go through my hearing aids and be amplified so I can hear them.

The only problem is... Right now, everything sounds the same to me. I'm looking for a speech therapist so I can fix that.

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explorereb96 has 28 years experience and works as a Pediatric Respiratory Nurse LPN.

2,548 Visitors; 131 Posts

Ok... My daughter has the same type of hearing loss that you do. They have hearing aids that go in the ear and stimulate the non hearing eardrum. The ear is anatomically capable of hearing except the neural pathway that tells the brain you are hearing something does not work. My daughter (she is 24 now) has had crossover hearing aids. You wear a special hearing aid in the affected ear...it stimulates and sends the impulse to the other ear (normally functioning) at a slightly different tone. It does take a while for your brain to adjust to this, so some people may have to have the hearing aids in use for a full year before their brain learns to discern the sounds from one another. There ARE special stethoscopes (very expensive but I knew a heart surgeon that had one) that are for the hard of hearing. As a matter of fact, one of my nursing instructors had one that she used for students to really listen well to the patients.... of course they would use their own stethoscopes, but it helped a lot. I can also help you in the Vocational Rehab predicament. I too am on Vocational Rehabilitation in Florida. After 27 years of working as an LPN I was hurt at work and am unable to do the daily lifting, pushing and pulling an LPN is expected to do. I am in school now for my BSN through Vocational Rehab. I had to raise a stink, just like you will have to. My state Ombudsman is in Jacksonville. My counselor did the same thing to me. She said "think along the lines of Lab tech, dr. office" I told her no, I have been a nurse for 27 years and that's what I am. I want to be re educated to do Case Management, teaching. Even her supervisor was indicating he wasn't going to "approve" anything....stating my age. At that point I got really angry... I stayed calm but I let them know that they were not talking to a fool and I knew what my rights were. I told them they were discriminating against me because of my disability (in a place that is supposed to help and encourage the disabled for gods sake) and then I told the supervisor he was displaying age discrimination. I am NOT one to fling my rights around but I knew this was just pure BS. I sent an email to the ombudsman, she wrote back to say that she was truly sorry and that things were being taken care of. The very next day I was signing the Educational Plan. I wasn't ignorant or nasty. I explained to them that I knew that they dealt with more than 80% of the people that come to them just play around and not ever finish. I explained that I fought so hard against them because I know that I can do this and I am not one to play around with Federal Funds. If I didn't get my way, I would have gone all the way to the Ticket To Work advocacy board from Social Security. If you really want nursing you can get nursing. Be professional, be polite, tell them you won't be swayed, and most of all be informed. Make sure if they tell you "Oh we don't do this or that" that you need to ask them to show you where it is written. Vocational Rehab has to provide everything necessary to aid you in getting back to work. I have my books, tuition, uniforms, tools, and anything disability related to aid paid for. They have even offered me gas money but I declined that. I would be using the gas if I were working so.... I do get an SSDI check so I am not in terrible financial condition. I hope this helps.

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979 Visitors; 19 Posts

Whoa. That was VERY helpful! Thank you SO much! I thought I was the only one with this issue, but apparently not! :)

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explorereb96 has 28 years experience and works as a Pediatric Respiratory Nurse LPN.

2,548 Visitors; 131 Posts

No I think we all have to understand that what I have stated is an issue that they do deal with... People come in to the vocational Rehab to go to school, they start and use up all that funding only to drop out the next semester....and so on. You do want to give them that "anything it takes" attitude and really go through with it. If you have ANY doubt about a class ....and there is a remedial class that may help you be more successful ...take it before. You can do this. They should have given you a handbook that you have to sign for. That tells you everything that they offer. Are you on the Ticket to Work through SS? or your hearing loss is your qualifying disability? I got mad mostly because I know that the SS ticket to work funding source is lucrative for them (not that they work "for profit") and sometimes if they shorten the time you are on vocational rehab or get you to complete a "cheaper" program....they can offer someone else your leftovers (it is a general funding source...it goes into a big pot...so to speak). I am fine with that, but I am not going to go into a field where I would be miserable at anyone's expense.....especially since that 80% are wasting the funding anyway.

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979 Visitors; 19 Posts

I'm also nearsighted (legally partially blind), which is my qualifying disability for SSI, and through that, I'm in the Ticket to Work program. The department of VR, however, sees my deafness as the disability that qualifies me for their services.

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7 Likes; 1 Follower; 32,049 Visitors; 6,945 Posts

i would def. think about it, try considering other things. PT, OT; REsp therapy would be no better than nursing. I don't know about explorer, but i received my education with normal hearing. doing it with minimal hearing is going to be TOUGH! take the interest inventory test, perhaps something else will pop for you. search carefully.

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and works as a Nursing Professional Development + Academic Facult.

242 Likes; 5 Followers; 57,548 Visitors; 12,974 Posts

I have mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand, I respect people with disabilities who want to be able to pursue any career that interests them. On the other hand, not all people are a "good fit" for all careers. As a 60 year old short woman, it is simply silly for me to pursue a career in the NBA -- or even the WNBA.

I am 100% deaf in one ear -- and slightly hard of hearing in the other. I also have some mild/moderate balance issues and tinnitus. I work in nursing education. But I didn't develop my hearing/balance difficulties until after I already had a successful nursing career and many years of experience. I need no accommodations to do my current job.

For a young person just wanting to enter the profession, it's a different situation. The abilities required to do a good job in most entry-level positions are different. Deafness would be a big problem and require a lot of expensive accommodation from the employer. Does society really owe every disabled person all of those expensive accommodations without any consideration of how practical the person's wishes are? -- without any consideration of the cost? -- without any consideration of whether or not the individual's abilities are well-suited to the job he/she would like to do? Don't we all have to face our limitations at some point in life?

My career advice to the OP is the same advice I would give to anyone. Choose a career path that suits both your interests and your natural abilities. Find something that "suits you." Don't spend your life as a "square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole." People who aren't good at art shouldn't try to make a living as artists. People who aren't good at sports shouldn't try to be professional athletes. Pick a career that uses the skills and talents you have and that come easily for you. Choosing something that will be a struggle all your life is not the most promising route to a happy, successful career.

Find something you are good at and make the most of it. The world is full of ways to help people. Don't limit yourself to nursing if nursing is going to be a constant struggle.

Do I think people with disabilities should have the legal right to pursue ANY career of their dreams? Yes!

Do I think society should be forced to pay for everyone's dream -- even those that aren't practical? No.

Should we pursue our dreams? Most of the time. But sometimes we need to modify or shape those dreams to fit reality. Happy people are able to adapt to less than ideal circumstances and find compromises that fulfill the key element of their dreams (e.g. helping people) while perhaps not being an exact match for every wish.

Edited by llg

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