Monday, June 4, 2018

Marie Scott moves forward as a U.S. Embassy nurse after a spinal cord injury

Marie (Bartova) Scott, US Embassy Nurse, Prague

"Born and raised in the Prague, Czech RepublicI was injured after I qualified as a nurse. At the time of my spinal cord injury (T-12 paraplegia), I was employed by the U.S. government in Prague. The understanding and support I received from the employer and colleagues will never be forgotten."

"It meant so much to me to know I was still a member of the team despite my reduced mobility. The workplace was adjusted (ramps, bathroom, cupboards and work desk). But, it was mostly the positive attitude of my colleagues which broke the barriers."

"I worked as a staff nurse at the US embassy health center and later took on a more senior role where I could also utilize my management skills. I spent six wonderful years there before I took maternity leave."

"My husband is Scottish and we moved our family to Scotland four years ago. I am now working as a staff nurse in neuro rehabilitation units and care home settings. With our excellent care staff, I can fulfill my role and enjoy it very much. In fact, I have been told on more than one occasion that my condition is seen as a good influence to residents and their families."

Learn more about Marie by viewing this video clip:

Bravo Marie and thanks to the US embassy and rehabilitation settings in Scotland for being so accommodating to nurses with disabilities!



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Low vision isn't low intelligence: Deven Kelly, a nursing student with diabetic retinopathy perseveres and graduates!

Deven Kelly

In 2014, I became a full time nursing student. By the end of the first semester, I developed a hemorrhage bleed in one of my eyes. I surprisingly was able to successfully complete my skills course as well as my clinical rotation with my instructors being aware. I got treatment for the bleed and the bleeding resolved and my eyesight returned to normal. I started my 2nd semester in January 2015 and completed another clinical rotation but unfortunately was unsuccessful in one theory course. I had to wait 1 year to be able to retake the class. During that year, I developed another eye bleed in both my eyes. I received laser treatment which eventually fixed the leaking blood vessels in the back of my eyes, but unfortunately it did some damage to my peripheral vision and I have difficulty distinguishing the difference between blue and green. 

After passing the class I had to retake, I was eligible to take my boards to be licensed as a LPN. I passed my boards and became a LPN on July 7, 2016. I became a full time nursing student again in the fall of 2016, the last and final year to receive my ADN. Because of the demanding time it takes to become a RN, I opted to focus my time on school and not work. 

It was not until my 3rd semester clinical rotation that I realized I had trouble with some skills. I couldn't see the color of veins in order to start an IV unless the vein was very pronounced. I also had some problems with depth perception when drawing up medication from a vial and also seeing the difference between air and liquid in a syringe. My clinical instructor had also noticed. We had a meeting with the disability specialist at school and she found an eye OT to determine what kind of accommodations I would need. After meeting with this OT, he didn't really solve my issues. 
I pretty much had to advocate for myself to find things that could be used in order for me to complete the skills. I ended up purchasing a very expensive vein viewer and getting a head light to help me see the difference between liquid and air. I didn't obtain these until the end of my 3rd semester, when my clinical instructor broke the news that she didn't think she could pass me. 

I then had to perform certain skills, with my accommodations and 4 nursing instructors watching me. I completed all the skills successfully and was allowed to start my final semester of clinical rotations. 

What I haven't mentioned is how my clinical instructor treated me through all of this. I noticed early that she treated me differently than my fellow students. Her attitude towards me was very cold. This continued to get worse as the year went on... so bad that I ended up reaching out to another instructor for support. 

I hated going to clinical, not because of the facility, but because of my clinical instructor. There were many times I would get in my car after a clinical day and sob. I never felt so much pressure to quit something in my entire life. There were things that she said to me that I still can't forget: "You can't go into a patient's room blind" (by the way I'm not blind), "Would you want someone like you taking care of you?" I let her know that she made me feel like a very small person. Everything got worse after that. 

After beginning my last clinicals, anything I did wrong was blamed on my eyesight. Eight weeks before graduation, I was pulled into the assistant Dean's office with my clinical instructor. They told me they didn't think it was safe for me to finish clinical. They had typed up the alleged mistakes I made. Most of them I didn't agree with and I wasn't even made aware when they happened. I was told to choose a different career. 

I was allowed to finish my theory courses but could not graduate because of not being able to complete clinicals. It was extremely difficult to come to class after all of this. It took a huge mental and emotional toll on me. Knowing everyone was going to graduate in just a short time and make their dreams come true. I was devastating. I have low vision, not low intelligence.....

After writing this heart-felt letter to the president of my college, the school allowed me back in the program to accommodate me and get me to the finish line. I brought up the Exceptional Nurse group and shared stories of how people with disabilities can be successful nurses just like everyone else. The group has really inspired me and gave me the motivation to fight for myself. Because of this, I am proudly graduating with my ADN degree this Saturday!

Congratulations and best wishes Deven!



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Brittle bone disease (OI) didn't stop Kristal Nemeroff from becoming a nurse!

Kristal Nemeroff, RN, School Nurse

In a NICHD podcast interview for DNA Day, Kristal Nemeroff shared her journey with a genetic condition and being a clinical research participant. She also spoke about her pursuit of a career in nursing. In the interview, she recounted:

       I did meet a lot of barriers when I started my journey through nursing school....and experienced barriers from professors...who were a little uncomfortable seeing somebody with a wheelchair rolling into the nursing program..... I just wanted to work with them as much as possible....

There's a lot of different roles for nursing out there....and just because I might not fit some roles in nursing doesn't mean that I'm not going to find a good fit somewhere else.

I kept saying this...

"I will find my place in nursing. I just need you guys to believe in me that....I belong here too".

Listen to the complete podcast by following this link. You can also hear Kristal sing!!

Bravo Kristal!!!


Monday, April 30, 2018

UK launches online resource for nurses and patients with endometriosis

“While this began as something for patients, from a nurse’s point of view it’s also going to be so useful because it helps them signpost patients to the right treatment much quicker,” according to Wendy Norton, a senior sexual health lecturer who worked on the team that created the resource.
It quickly became a resource for nurses themselves.

“There is still so little awareness of endometriosis among nurses and health professionals, so hopefully this resource goes some way towards changing that,” Norton added. 
“Nursing students will find it useful during their training, but also practice nurses will have something to refer to when patients present at GP clinics.”
"On average, it takes about seven years to reach an accurate diagnosis for endometriosis. That statistic is not different among nurses, who may be suffering from symptoms but are unaware that they, too, might have endometriosis."


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Andrea Dalzell, Ms. Wheelchair New York and disability advocate becomes a nurse!

Andrea Dalzell, RN

The United Spinal Organization reported the following about Andrea Dalzell:

"As a wheelchair user striving to become a nurse, Andrea Dalzell has been surrounded by doubt from day one. Nursing school administrators questioned her ability to complete the program. Hospital administrators told her insurance wouldn’t cover her. Faculty doubted her ability to safely administer the duties of the job."
"Dalzell, 29, learned to tune them out. “I detach from whatever situation is actually happening and just take a moment to remember why I’m doing it,” she says. “Part of that is to say that I’m out there in the world doing something that someone told me that I couldn’t do.  And that’s something that we’ve all been told at one point or another, that we can’t do something. That’s my fuel for the fire. Tell me I can’t, so that I can show you how well I can.”

"Whether it was passing finals with the highest grades, receiving exemplary feedback from patients’ families or simply figuring out a way to accomplish her daily responsibilities from her chair, Dalzell has done more than just show she can be a nurse; she has proven she can be an excellent one. Later this year she will graduate from the College of Staten Island with her bachelor’s in nursing and take her boards. Then she will finally be a nurse."
Bravo Andrea!


Update: Andrea graduated from nursing school and passed her boards!!!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A passport to support nurses with disabilities

"Exclusive: Nurses with disabilities face discrimination in the workplace" was written by Jo Stephenson and published by the Nursing Times in the UK.

It is reported that "the Royal College of Nursing is trying to support nurses with disabilities and managers to have 'open and honest conversations' via a new 'disability passport' that is due to be trialled soon." 

The document is designed to be completed by the nurse and their manager. It is intended to clearly identify a nurse's individual needs, adjustments (similar to accommodation in the United States) and a timeline for reviewing arrangements that are made. 

"The idea is that the passport is recognized throughout an organization. If a nurse moves into a new role or management changes, the nurse doesn't have to start from scratch. There is a suggested template for documenting everything. Keys to success include: the employee feels safe and confident to "own" their disability and talk about it and the manager feels safe and comfortable to ask questions, listen and understand."

"Ultimately, employing nurses with disabilities and supporting them makes sense for the National Health Service as a whole. There is a huge value in having lived experience of disability when you are a care giver. What we want to highlight is that it is good business sense to recruit and retain disabled healthcare professionals", according to Holly Chadd, Peer Support Officer at the Royal College.

 So.....what do you think? Could this work in the United States? 

Love to hear your thoughts. 



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

For Cerebral Palsy awareness month: We celebrate Carla Pease, a Nurse Practitioner with CP!

Carla Pease, RN, MS, Nurse Practitioner
Carla Pease was born with cerebral palsy. She finished her LPN certificate and then finished an RN program. Carla continued on to get her masters in nursing. 

She is now a board-certified adult-geriatric nurse practitioner. Carla lives in North Dakota and has been practicing as a nurse practitioner for 3 years. She states, “The only disability is ignorance. Cerebral Palsy is not my stumbling block, it is my stepping stone.”

Bravo Carla!!!