Welcome to the Exceptional Nurse Blog! I am Donna Maheady, EdD, ARNP, founder of www.ExceptionalNurse.com, the nonprofit resource committed to inclusion of people with disabilities in nursing. We facilitate inclusion of students with disabilities in nursing education programs and foster resilience and continued practice for nurses who are, or become, disabled. We celebrate abilities, share resources and examples of nurses with disabilities who work with and without accommodations.
Let's help a cancer survivor/amputee become a nurse!
Let's help D'Andra become a nurse!
Today, I received this heartwarming email:
"I am a osteosarcoma bone cancer survivor and right hip disarticulate amputee. I
was diagnosed at 13 years old and after a painful battle I lost my leg at 14
years old. My mother was told that I was not expected to survive this aggresive
form of cancer. Happily, I'm ALIVE at 22 years old! Your website was suggested
to me by NurseTogether.com. I love your advocacy for the disabled nursing
community. I thank you for taking a minute to read my letter. I've wanted to be
a nurse from the age of 14 years old and be able to give back to others in a way
I felt could touch their lives when they needed the help most. It's undeniable,
(other than our moms) nothing is better than an AWESOME nurse! Our doctors see
us every now and then, but nurses are right there by your side 100% of the time.
I wore my first prosthetic for only 3 months because it was more pain than I
could've beared. But within those 3 months I used to help a family friend who
was a nurse in the Administration Office of her hospital. I had my own scrubs
and sethoscope, even a Critical Care Book I used to study. All this at 14 yrs
old! However, because I had to stop wearing my leg I thought I was destined to
walk on my crutches for the rest of my life. I'm really fast on my crutches,
especially in a high heeled shoe! So I learned Spanish and now work as a Spanish
Tutor and Interpreter. I love the kids I get to work with but my dream to be a
nurse never died.
Early last year, I decided that there are goals I have and for these
I'd need my leg. Gratefully, I recieved my new leg last October from a company
in Orlando, Fl. Prosthetic and Orthotic Assocites. My new leg is beyond my
dreams! I look so bionic and I love it! I had my first prosthetic covered and I
chose not to cover this new one. I'm so much more content with it like that.
After getting my new leg and finally walking without crutches or any assistance
in it, I realized that 'I CAN DO IT! I CAN BE A NURSE!'."