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.
“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."
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! Donna Update: Andrea graduated from nursing school and passed her boards!!!!!
"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. Cheers! Donna https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/workforce/exclusive-nurses-with-disabilities-face-discrimination-in-workplace/7023548.article