Nurses with disabilities - page 3

I am curious as to how many of the members of this bb are nurses or nursing students with disabilities. By disabilities, I am including congenital problems, injury-related problems, or work-related... Read More

  1. by   bestblondRN
    Originally posted by mattsmom81

    Time will tell how I handle worklife and I appreciate the good wishes!

    It is truly shocking to me how little compassion healthcare has for its injured and disabled nurses. We are discarded like a disposable supply item

    Good thoughts going out to all here. :kiss
    You are welcome mattsmom! I agree wholeheartedly with you about being discarded, as I said in one of my last posts. As my husband pointed out to me, most industries are like this and I am just beginning to feel as many in other professions have when faced with a similar plight.

    In his inimitable way, he's saying "get over it and get on with your life". So I am trying to do just that! Not an easy task when it's all you've done for 25 years, but I guess I am "re-trainable" :chuckle
  2. by   bestblondRN
    Originally posted by imenid37
    this i an interesting thread. my daughter is 15 years old and expresses a strong desire to go into nursing. she has jra which is pretty much in remission at this time. between this illness, genetics, and the meds she took, she is only 4 feet 9 inches tall. the joint damage from the disease has been minimal thanks to the mega doses of meds including steroids. most of her function has been preserved and she now has very occasional stiffness. i try to encourage her to do something else w/ patients like ot or resp. therapy which wouldn't involve so much lifting. she wants to do nicu or another maternal-child area. anyone else who is very short. what obstacles do you face? i am only 5'1". my sister is 4'10" (she's an attorney and i'm a nurse in an ldrp setting).
    Wow....your daughter sounds like she's very determined. I wouldn't think that NICU would be as physically challenging as adult care, but I'm not entirely sure. I wish her luck as she moves toward making career decisions!
  3. by   duckie
    I understand completely how all of you feel as I live with pain also from a fusion in my lower back, nerve damage in my right leg and severe arthritis in both knees. I have to take medication around the clock in order to be able to function in a fairly normal manner. My doctor recently changed my pain regimen and thankfully it has brought me relief enough that I no longer wake up every day wishing that I hadn't. This business is not a kind one once you are injured. It's is like another poster stated, a real shame that we give so much to others and yet in return we get shown that in the big picture what we do is not really appreciated because once we are no longer in perfect working order, we are so easily disposed of. My husband and I have decided to work very hard in paying off our bills so we can both cut down on our work schedules. Being in my mid 40's makes me wonder what my 60's will be like and if they will be tolerable. I guess only God knows that. Good wishes to all of you, I hope you can find a way to feel better very soon.
  4. by   Disablednurse
    Duckie, I know what you are talking about. I to am in your shoes of taking pain med around the clock. I just hope that my pain management specialist will get my meds to the point that I can wake up and not be in pain every day.
  5. by   zudy
    mattsmom, you said a mouthful, it is shocking how little compassion is given to nurses when we are hurt, after years of caring for others. A good friend of mine was fired when she had cancer of the breast because she was going in for chemo and missing work. (I work in a "Right to work" state) Luckily for her, she was married, and was on her husbands insurance, but what happens when a nurse does'nt have that support?
    This thread breaks my heart. All of you are in my prayers.
  6. by   ScarlettRN
    I have really learned a lot from this thread. I am only 37 but have been living with chronic pain for almost 5 years now. I just went to my pain doctor yesterday and told him how sick I am of living like this. I don't have spinal problems...I tore a ligament in my back about 10 years ago, and then reinjured it over and over again when I graduated nursing school. My official diagnosis is Myofacial pain disorder. He told me to think of it as fibromyalgia but localized. Just one area of my lower left back gives me incredible pain.
    I was just put on a duragesic patch yesterday and decided to not tell anyone at work. It kicked in somewhere in the middle of my shift this evening and got me fuzzy around the edges, but I was too busy to think about it, and worked thru the feeling....better that than being in pain!!!
    I work in the ER, and my strategy when it comes to transferring patients from the EMS stretcher to ours is to meet them at the head of the bed with the BP cuff and O2 in my hand, ready to hook them up. I hardly ever have to do lifting and pray it stays that way.
    How many of you have thought about teaching nursing school? In TN you can teach LPN school with an associate's degree.
  7. by   lucianne
    I'm not disabled, but chronic neck pain and my advanced (!) age when I started nursing helped me decide to go into psych nursing--in addition to the fact that psych is where my talents are. In the acute setting, I have to do some physical management but it isn't the daily lifting, pushing, and pulling required in other area. I'm currently in a PMHNP program so that I can get out of acute care because I feel that it's only a matter of time before I damage my back (or get otherwise injured working with kids). Are any of you who are unable to tolerate bedside nursing able to get your master's degrees? I could be wrong, but it seems that working as a family or pediatric NP would be easier on the body. (I used to joke that I'd become a peds NP and run a clinic that only did immunizations, otitis media and strep tests and take most of the summer off.) There seems to be more and more financial assistance available for graduate nurses lately.

    good luck to all
  8. by   bestblondRN
    Good point lucianne! I am looking at graduate programs right now and preparing to take either the GMAT or the GRE. I think that most states are offering some sort of tuition forgiveness/assistance programs for both undergrad and graduate education. In addition, many places of employment offer tuition assistance. Financing the education may not be as difficult as it once was.

    I am going to the second round of interviews (with the docs) for a clinic nurse position in the outpatient department of a hospital today. I am one of two candidates being considered, and am hopeful that I have what they are looking for. Time to go get the java brewing so I'm sure to be absolutely alert (nothing functions without benefit of caffeine anymore!) :roll
  9. by   lucianne
    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
  10. by   Sharon
    It is much more difficult to adapt to a new disability later in your career then it is for those who have had one occur prior or at the beginning of their career. Most of the disabled nurses I have worked with and have successful accommodated have been those with chronic long term illnesses and sensory deficits. I have worked with many nurses who have Primary Immune Deficiency, Asthma, renal and liver disease, s/p amputations, Deaf/deaf/hearing impaired, low vision, post transplant, etc. The most successful accommodated positions are those in which the employee know their job and what the specific accommodation is whether it is equipment or reworking the job flow. The accommodation must be reasonable, in writing, and with proof that the employee is both an individual with a disability and a qualified individual. Any request that changes the actual numbers of work hours is usually not considered reasonable because it requires the employer to pick up the cost of a replacement for those work hours.

    A reasonable accommodation does not include promotion into management or any other position of higher authority or qualification. Even if an employer does allow for job duties to be removed the employer can adjust wages to reflect fair compensation for the remaining duties.

    It is the employees' responsibility to have the following written information to give to the employer: detailed medical documentation of their disability, what they can do, what accommodation(s) they want, how the accommodation works and how and when the accommodation will be evaluated. It is the employer and employees' responsibility to attempt to locate accommodations including other positions for which the employee is qualified. The employers' responsibility is to meet face to face with the requesting employee to review the employees' documentation. The employer does not have to provide a position or accommodation that will maintain the employees' salary if the employee is moved to a lower paying position. For instance a nurse accept a move from the ICU to an out patient staff position. The nurses salary will be changed to the pay rate of the out patient clinic.

    The best resource for you to access both in the US is the Job Accommodation Net work at
  11. by   Disablednurse
    I do not have the option of going back to nurses school due to the fact that I cannot sit for longer than 20 minutes without severe pain. I cannot lift more than 3 pounds also. My limitations also limit me from other avenues of employment.
  12. by   bestblondRN
    Sharon, thank you for the information about accomodation. It shed some light on what employers and employees are expected to do. I think many of are a little confused when it comes to that.

    I went for the clinic interviews yesterday and I have the job! I am really excited about it and am looking forward to being back in the workforce! I've had entirely TOO much time on my hands lately
  13. by   mattsmom81
    Congrats and hope the new job works out for you Bestblonde! Does job stress and constant interruptions aggravate your pain? Or is it mostly the physical workload? I ask because I notice the stress/tensions will aggravate my pain as much as careful, controlled bedside work does (in small increments).

    I hurt less tending 2 patients for 12 hrs or so a week than being in charge stuck at a desk. Funny how pain effects us differently. Maybe my limited work now is like a TENS unit for me...a little distraction to ease my day...??!!!

    I'm interested in how others manage chronic pain...hope I'm not too nosy!