Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Nurses with Disabilities Find O ...
Nurses with Disabilities Find On-the-Job Support

Nurses with Disabilities Find On-the-Job Support

While working as a nurse in today’s healthcare world can be stressful enough, nurses with disabilities can face additional on-the-job challenges, including colleagues who may not feel they are capable of doing the work and needing assistance in a job that often requires strength and stamina. However, by making some adjustments, nurses with disabilities can continue to practice their profession.

Cary Jo Cook, RN, first began experiencing joint problems in junior high school. The pain eventually got so bad that she began seeing doctors who diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis. Medications didn’t work and soon Cook began taking Remicade infusions.

“I thought that was the beginning of the end of my career,” Cook says. “I struggled with fatigue constantly, so I eventually had to cut my hours -- up until that point I had been working beyond full-time while raising a teenage boy as a single parent.”

Cook remembers encountering many on-the-job obstacles as a result of her disability, but never feeling comfortable enough to ask her superiors for special accommodations.

“I believed that asking for help would have been a problem,” she says. “Staffing was so tight that I saw colleagues getting in trouble for calling in sick.”

Cook did ask her coworkers to help with actions such as opening a blister pack or spiking an IV, and always returned the favor.

“It was relationship-based assistance rather than required by accommodations,” she says. “When I knew every day would be a struggle, I chose to move on.”

Finding a Niche

Today, Cook is working as a telephonic nurse case manager for UnitedHealth Group in Chicago.

“Nursing is a profession with a zillion niches,” she says. “There is a nursing job to fit every nurse’s unique situation and skill set.”

Cook notes that United hires a fair number of nurses with disabilities and is willing to make accommodation for employees.

“Many of us work from home after in-house training, and working from home does not preclude advancement within the company,” she says.

A Strong Support System

Cook found support through Exceptional Nurse www.exceptionalnurse.com, a Web site established by Donna Maheady, RN, ARNP, EdD. Maheady, the mother of a daughter with significant disabilities, is the author of Leave No Nurse Behind, a compendium of personal, firsthand accounts of nurses, including Cook, who have triumphed over adversity.

Maheady’s site offers nurses a nonprofit resource network with mentors, disability resources, scholarships and more. Her organization encourages employers to hire nurses with disabilities and argues that these nurses can often provide patients with the best role models.

Cook agrees that being a nurse with a disability has enhanced many of her encounters with patients.

“Sometimes when people are sick, they get distrustful or noncompliant and believe that nurses don’t understand or care about their problem,” she says. “Those of us who have been there, who have experienced how brutal the healthcare system can be firsthand, who have felt that exhaustion or have had side effects from meds just like the patients really have a lot to offer.”

Another organization that supports nurses with disabilities is the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND), a nonprofit founded by a group of nurse volunteers in 2003. The organization advocates on behalf of nurses with disabilities and chronic health conditions and offers resources and support for nurses who may be facing obstacles in their jobs.

Beth Marks, RN, PhD, NOND president and assistant director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities at the University of Illinois in Chicago, says that many nurses with disabilities still face discrimination and that many are nervous about asking for special accommodations.

Disclosing disability is a choice and a right that is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,” she says. “Through education and advocacy, NOND promotes equity in the workplace. Many of the calls we get are from nurses who have become disabled and aren’t aware of their rights or how to advocate on behalf of themselves.”

While some nurses still face discrimination in the workplace, Marks believes that attitudes are changing and that with the current nursing shortage, nurses with disabilities are being seen as individuals who can work alongside their peers without disabilities to enhance culturally competent nursing care.

For additional resources, visit:

Latest Jobs

Arctic Catering
Posted: 10/23/2014
Anaktuvuk, 99721
Alaska CHARR
Posted: 10/23/2014
Anchorage, 99515
GeoNorth, LLC & The Tatitlek
Posted: 10/23/2014
Anchorage, 99515
BV Veterinary Service
Posted: 10/23/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Posted: 10/23/2014
Mchenry, IL, 60050

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.65.72-210
eTrustLogo