Saturday, June 11, 2016

Moving forward with a disability: Returning to work as a nurse after an amputation


Carolyn McKinzie, LPN

Carolyn McKinzie returned to work as a nurse following a below the knee amputation. Her journey and suggestions for other similarly situated nurses are included in a series of blog posts. Part 3 includes steps a nurse with an amputation should take before returning to work.
Our thanks to Joyce Fiodembo, RN founder of "International Nurse Support"  for sharing Carolyn's post with us.


There are steps that should be taken to evaluate readiness for work.

Assess physical readiness
Consultation with a primary care physician to discuss current, overall health status is essential.
The next step should be a consultation with a prosthetist to discuss the physical requirements and essential functions of the position being considered. A prosthetist can facilitate provision of prosthetic components to meet the level of activity.A physical therapy consultation may also be indicated.
Develop a Resume
A resume should be created or updated based on work experience and interests. Certifications such as IV, dialysis and oncology should be included along with computer and language skills (bilingual, sign language). 


Cast a wide net of career alternatives

Teaching, Case Management, Camp nursing
Telephone services (triage, helpline, poison control hotline)
Consulting, Teaching nursing
Teaching yoga or Reiki
Writing or working for a non-profit organization
Consider more education
Advanced degrees can  open doors of opportunity and less physically demanding positions. State vocational rehabilitation programs may be able to help fund educational programs.
Make connections 
Finding a nurse with an amputation who is currently working is ideal. Mentors can be found found through organizations,social media groups and ExceptionalNurse.com.
Reading articles about nurses with amputations can also help to identify role models.


Review Job description 
The physical job description for a position should be available from the HR department. A review of the job description and essential functions is needed along with a comparison with the amputee’s abilities and limitations. 
Request a Job shadow
Job shadowing a nurse working in the position sought is ideal. Benefits include a clear and honest understanding of the duties required for the position. 


Consider need for Accommodation
A review of the job description may identify requirements that will require accommodation. Areas to consider include: 
Time spent standing in one place and time spent walking.
Number of bends, squats and kneels. 
Environmental factors such as doors (weighted), distance between stations and stairs.
Contact Carolyn McKinzie at:
Email: Blueeyedlady1101@yahoo.com
Phone: 207-624-1076
Facebook: Amputee Nurse Consultant/Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKA

Read more of this blog post and Part 1 and Part 2 at:
http://www.internationalnursesupport.com/4489/nurse-carolyn-answers-your-questions/

Appreciate your thoughts and comments.

With thanks,
Donna