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Nursing fields suited for physical limitations/chronic illness

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by Watki22 Watki22 (New Member) New Member Nurse

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Hi there! 

Im a new grad (kindof) RN BSN, just finished my first yr on a medical surgical/telemetry floor. Bedside nursing is getting harder and harder physically as I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome- connective tissue disease causing unstable joints and chronic pain. I’m worried I’m going to sustain a terrible injury if I keep working bedside nursing or if I suddenly get worse I won’t be able to work. I want to be able to work in nursing for many years but what I am doing now is not sustainable. I am interested in case management (office or telephonic or field) but it seems they are looking for nurses with at the least 3 yrs clinical experience AND they want CMM or case management experience. Does anyone have any advice on another nursing field I could go into? 🤔

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LibraNurse27 has 5 years experience.

132 Posts; 2,796 Profile Views

I used to work in a community health clinic doing a mix of phone triage and walk-in patient triage as well as quick scheduled "nurse visits" like for injections, TB tests/reads, newborn weight/bili checks, INR checks and coumadin adjustments, etc... there was lots to do! I loved it but unfortunately the pay in community clinics is usually much lower than hospitals. What area do you live in? Where I live there are many clinics serving lower income/vulnerable patients like the one I used to work in and they are almost always looking for nurses! Public health might also be a good option.

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Silverdragon102 has 30 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

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Moved to the Nursing with Disabilities forum

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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Were you diagnosed in the last year? It seems that if you had a potentially debilitating medical issue, you should have researched bedside nursing prior to starting nursing school to see if it was going to be too physically demanding for you before you went through the rigors of nursing school or at least recognized during nursing clinicals that nursing might not be the best career path for you.

I am not understanding why you would choose nursing if your goal was not bedside nursing. There are other pathways to Case Management other than nursing. There are also many other non-nursing career paths that are not physically demanding.

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 3:46 PM, NICU Guy said:

Were you diagnosed in the last year? It seems that if you had a potentially debilitating medical issue, you should have researched bedside nursing prior to starting nursing school to see if it was going to be too physically demanding for you before you went through the rigors of nursing school or at least recognized during nursing clinicals that nursing might not be the best career path for you.

I am not understanding why you would choose nursing if your goal was not bedside nursing. There are other pathways to Case Management other than nursing. There are also many other non-nursing career paths that are not physically demanding.

That's so rude and I totally disagree. 1 - so many people go into nursing but do NOT want to be bedside nurses. Anyone going into primary health/public health or school nursing. That's a huge number of people not wanting to work bedside. 
AND 2 - you can't research how demanding bedside nursing is omg... I can't believe I just read that. Where can you find information on how physically demanding a certain floor of a certain hospital is!!! How ridiculous! This person has a condition which will make her incredibly understanding of other people's pain and chronic illness and will be a fantastic nurse. Why are you so keen for her not to be in nursing. There are so many non-bedside nursing jobs out there which are so important. 

Rant done. 

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Lindalamb8 has 3 years experience as a CNA, EMT-B and specializes in LNA.

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I am an LNA with not really any conditions. It's just that I am 64. I just interviewed for a position in a Nursing home but the faculty wants me to have a physical first. I am terrified as I think it might include having to lift 50 lbs. I had to do that one time as part of the pre employment physical and I couldn't do it so I didn't get that job. Do I have cause to be worried about this upcoming physical? 

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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On 3/14/2019 at 1:26 AM, bananas1 said:

That's so rude and I totally disagree. 1 - so many people go into nursing but do NOT want to be bedside nurses. Anyone going into primary health/public health or school nursing. That's a huge number of people not wanting to work bedside. 
AND 2 - you can't research how demanding bedside nursing is omg... I can't believe I just read that. Where can you find information on how physically demanding a certain floor of a certain hospital is!!! How ridiculous! This person has a condition which will make her incredibly understanding of other people's pain and chronic illness and will be a fantastic nurse. Why are you so keen for her not to be in nursing. There are so many non-bedside nursing jobs out there which are so important. 

Rant done. 

Rudeness is in the eye of the beholder, and I found your post more rude than the post you are quoting.  I, too wonder about anyone with a chronic illness who goes into nursing knowing they cannot work at the bedside long enough to get useful experience that will carry over into other roles.

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On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 10:49 AM, Ruby Vee said:

Rudeness is in the eye of the beholder, and I found your post more rude than the post you are quoting.  I, too wonder about anyone with a chronic illness who goes into nursing knowing they cannot work at the bedside long enough to get useful experience that will carry over into other roles.

Trust me my post didn't come out as nearly as rude as I had intended. We're supposed to be nurses, encouraging and enabling people to achieve what they want. I know a med-surg nurse with anaphylactic reactions to latex, I know another nurse with severe anaphylaxis to friggen everything, both carry epipens on them. I know another nurse with type 1 diabetes who actually has a service dog sitting in the hallway for her because it is that unpredictable. 

I have friends who absolutely hate bedside nursing, and went into public health or primary healthcare. I didn't get into bedside nursing at first either though I wanted to, I am now in NICU. You are never just stuck in one area, many skills are transferrable and I was certainly given this job out of keenness, nothing to do with experience

Edited by bananas1

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3 minutes ago, bananas1 said:

We're supposed to be nurses, encouraging and enabling people to achieve what they want.

Ummmmm. I don’t recall that being part of any nursing code anywhere, that’s for mummies and daddies. I find it’s much better to encourage people to achieve what they reasonably can,  not whatever cockamamie pipe-dream they have deluded themselves into believing. We had someone here once who was legally blind and wanted to be a nurse. This is not reasonable at all but sure enough someone piped up about forcing schools, clinical sites and hospitals to make accommodations for them because it was their dreeeaaammm.  We do not do people favors by encouraging them to continue toward an unattainable goal. 

To the OP, you may have to figure out a way to deal with your situation until such time that you’ve achieved enough experience to transfer into a CM job. Your facility may have an ADA office that can help you.  But now that you have a year’s experience it may be easier for you to find a job with less (but not zero) physical stress such as pediatric home care or phone triage. 

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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1 hour ago, bananas1 said:

We're supposed to be nurses, encouraging and enabling people to achieve what they want.

Really?  I am a nurse and have been for many decades, but no where in any job description I have ever read does it say I'm responsible for "encouraging and enabling random strangers on the Internet to achieve what they want."  Especially if what they want isn't reasonable, likely or even possible.  

I consider it a boon to such individuals to point out the problems in their critical thinking so they can adjust their expectations or work hard on obtaining the qualifications they need.  

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

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On 3/13/2019 at 11:26 PM, bananas1 said:

That's so rude and I totally disagree. 1 - so many people go into nursing but do NOT want to be bedside nurses. Anyone going into primary health/public health or school nursing. That's a huge number of people not wanting to work bedside. 
AND 2 - you can't research how demanding bedside nursing is omg... I can't believe I just read that. Where can you find information on how physically demanding a certain floor of a certain hospital is!!! How ridiculous! This person has a condition which will make her incredibly understanding of other people's pain and chronic illness and will be a fantastic nurse. Why are you so keen for her not to be in nursing. There are so many non-bedside nursing jobs out there which are so important. 

Rant done. 

This website is open to the public and is an excellent place to start researching nursing as a possible career.  It just seems to not be the best of planning to undertake the rigours of schooling for a career that might not be doable.

Now the OP is trying to find a way to salvage her career and it might not be easy.  Yes, lots of people don't want to work bedside.  But a significant number of us find that it takes a few years at the bedside to be able to get out of it.  And the away-from-bedside jobs aren't necessarily a piece of cake, either.

Unfortunately, nursing requires a LOT more than being understanding of people's pain.  Because the people in the beds can't be expected to be understanding of your pain.

There are occasional posts that pop up on this site:  "I'm a new nurse but I don't want to work nights."  "I'm a new nurse but I can't stand for long periods."  "I'm a new nurse but I need every Sunday off because church is important to me." "I'm a new nurse and I think it's unfair that I have to work Christmas."

For those of us who have spent our adult lives on our feet, during the night, on weekends, holidays, etc - we can only shake our heads.  Anyone whose dre-e-e-am it is to be a nurse - find out what's required before deciding if it's for you.  It's not classified information.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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38 minutes ago, TriciaJ said:

This website is open to the public and is an excellent place to start researching nursing as a possible career.  It just seems to not be the best of planning to undertake the rigours of schooling for a career that might not be doable.

Now the OP is trying to find a way to salvage her career and it might not be easy.  Yes, lots of people don't want to work bedside.  But a significant number of us find that it takes a few years at the bedside to be able to get out of it.  And the away-from-bedside jobs aren't necessarily a piece of cake, either.

Unfortunately, nursing requires a LOT more than being understanding of people's pain.  Because the people in the beds can't be expected to be understanding of your pain.

There are occasional posts that pop up on this site:  "I'm a new nurse but I don't want to work nights."  "I'm a new nurse but I can't stand for long periods."  "I'm a new nurse but I need every Sunday off because church is important to me." "I'm a new nurse and I think it's unfair that I have to work Christmas."

For those of us who have spent our adult lives on our feet, during the night, on weekends, holidays, etc - we can only shake our heads.  Anyone whose dre-e-e-am it is to be a nurse - find out what's required before deciding if it's for you.  It's not classified information.

My main problem with this post is that I can't like it a few thousand times.  

My other problem is that I didn't say this myself.

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