Saturday, April 10, 2021

Meet Victoria Cliff: A nursing student with autism and mental health challenges


                                                                                 Victoria Cliff, Student Children's Nurse

Victoria shared her journey in an article published by the Children and Young People Student Network in the UK.

"I have Autism, and this will be with me for life. I have always had it and I always will have it. My brain works differently to others, I communicate differently, I process things differently - but these also become my strengths."

"Autism probably seems like enough to put some barriers in place to me getting where I want. But I have also battled with mental illness for as long as I can remember, and I have had days where tomorrow looked like it would never come. It caused me to drop out of my A levels because I got too unwell, and then when I started a different course a few months later, I only managed 5 days. At this point, I truly felt I would never be able to reach my goals. I felt like my education ended at GCSE’s because I just couldn’t get any further without losing myself to mental illness."

"These built barriers and walls in my way to success. I had no idea how I would get to where I wanted to be, I almost just accepted a lower quality of life than what I deserved. But I fought. I battled to be where I am."

"Then, I got my offer to study children’s nursing. I felt over the moon. I was there, I was going to get my goal after all. Starting university is difficult for anyone, then add into the mix my life and it was complicated. I almost gave up several times that first month. I wasn’t good enough; I could never do it. But the support from my lecturers and the university made a difference, proved that I could do it. Placement proved to me even more that I could do it, making a difference to families every day and I loved the feeling of helping people."

Read more about Victoria here:



Monday, March 22, 2021

Jordann Nagel, BSN, RN beat test anxiety through perseverance!!!

                                                                                         Jordann Nagel, BSN, RN

*"Hi, I'm Jordann and I'm gonna be your nurse today."  

I was set to graduate nursing school in May of 2019 but failed a class in the last semester of my program, and had to retake it over the next summer. I took the NCLEX for the first time in October of 2019 and was devastated when I failed the first time and again when I failed in December.

I took my third attempt at the NCLEX in May of 2020 after completing the Hurst review and again, was unsuccessful. The next month I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks and took a break from studying to grieve. I scheduled my next attempt for January 6th of 2021 and failed for the 4th time.

I've battled testing anxiety since the very beginning of my nursing journey and have struggled with answering the NCLEX style questions. I graduated from a 4 year school with a bachelor's degree and have done so many content reviews it's insane.. I know the material and am great in a clinical setting, but you put me in front of a computer for 4 hours and I blank.

I've been very open about my NCLEX journey on tiktok, and I had so many people reach out to me and tell me to listen to the Mark Klimek audios on YouTube. So I listened to all of his audios and took my own notes, slept with them under my pillow, and gave myself the pep talk of my life in the mirror before taking my 5th attempt at the NCLEX this past Thursday.

With tears in my eyes and a fire in my soul I am proudly screaming at the top of my lungs.. JORDANN NAGEL, BSN RN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am here to tell you to never give up on your dreams! Push yourself and keep going until you get there! I freaking did it!!!!!! School is extremely difficult and the NCLEX is terrifying but none of that matters anymore since receiving my licensure number. I am a NURSE and you will be too!

After all, the only time you really fail is if you give up. PERSEVERANCE IS KEY!

Jordann's Tiktok and Instagram are @Jordannnagel.

*This was originally posted to a Facebook group and reposted here with Joardann Nagel's permission.

Congratulations Jordann!!!!!!!!!!!



Thursday, March 11, 2021

Disabled actor turns to for inspiration and guidance developing a character who is a nurse with a disability!

 Recently, I received this email: 

Dear Donna,

My name is Diana Elizabeth Jordan.  I am a Los Angeles based actress who lives with cerebral palsy (which mildly affects my speech and gait). I am reaching out to let you know how invaluable your website was to me recently.

Last Friday, (March 5) I had a guest starring role on Heartbeats (an improvised medical dramedy produced by Jessica Lynn Verdi and Mary Chieffo) which is on Friday's 6 P.M. PST on the Twitch channel). The character I portrayed was Nurse Lollie Blake-Pimperton, Pediatric NP. I was really excited to play a nurse who had a disability and read about other real life  nurses with disabilities. I even got the coloring book.

 I am in awe of what real nurses do and how much you have done especially this past year. Even though the show (which was filmed on Zoom) was improvised and had a lot of comedic elements, it was very important to me especially-since I was a guest star and I am not sure when I will be back, to ground the character in reality. I do hope I represented your profession well.

So I just wanted to thank you. I have included a link to a few of my scenes and also the entire show because the show is really good and the series regulars are awesome.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 Peace and Grace 

Diana Elizabeth Jordan

Actor*Solo Artist* Theater & Filmmaker


 Disability Influencer/Artist Educator

Diana Elizabeth Jordan Lollie Scenes

Heartbeats episode 13




Sunday, March 7, 2021

Exciting news for nurses who use service dogs. Times and guidelines are changing!


People Magazine reports that a "golden retriever has been trained to be a laboratory assistant for his disabled neuroscientist owner — and even wears his own canine PPE."

"Service dog Sampson is required to wear PPE for safety reasons as he helps owner Joey Ramp conduct her crucial lab work every day."

"Joey, 56, suffered traumatic head injuries following a serious horse-riding accident in 2006 and returned to education to gain a better understanding of the human brain."

"Sampson, dressed in goggles and a lab coat, is the first-ever canine to be granted access to a chemistry laboratory at The University of Illinois."

"If I drop something in the lab, he'll come to my side, and I can use him as a brace to kneel down and pick up what I need," said Joey of Champagne, Illinois, who is also a disability advocate. Sampson is also on hand to spot signs and react to Joey's PTSD."

Great news for nurses who use service dogs!

Read more at:



Monday, February 1, 2021

For nurses with disabilities: How do you inform an employer that accommodation isn't working?


According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN):

"There isn’t a specific way that employees are required to handle this type of situation, but here are some things for employees to consider:

You need to inform your employer that the alternative accommodation isn’t effective. Otherwise, the employer has no duty to reopen the accommodation process or to reconsider your original request. You can inform your employer any way you want, but in our experience, it can be useful to do it in writing so you have a record.

Your employer needs to know why the alternative accommodation isn’t overcoming your limitations and enabling you to perform your job or access benefits of employment. This information will help the employer better understand the situation.

You can remind your employer what your original accommodation request was and why you requested it so the employer has all the necessary information easily available. You also can ask that your original accommodation be reconsidered (unless your employer already gave you a valid reason why it cannot be provided). You can explain how the accommodation you requested will be effective and enable you to perform your job or access benefits of employment.

If you think it would help to meet with your employer again, you can suggest that in your letter, and if you think additional medical information would help your employer understand the situation better, you can include that as well."

For more information and a sample letter, visit:



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Nurse practitioner who stutters helps others from the front lines of Covid-19


"StutterTalk® is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to talking openly about stuttering. StutterTalk is the first and longest running podcast on stuttering". 

"Roisin McManus, a Nurse Practitioner (NP) who stutters, joins Chaya Goldstein to provide a first hand perspective from the front lines of COVID-19.

Roisin shares ways we can contain the spread, defines flatten the curve, ways we can support healthcare workers and the general public; including education, mental health support, and dropping off medical supplies at local hospitals in need. And finally, Roisin offers advice on what to do if you get sick. As you can imagine, stuttering is not on Roisin’s mind right now."

"Roisin McManus has been involved in stuttering self-help and advocacy for awhile now. She has volunteered with StutterTalk, the NSA, Friends and was co-founder of the NYC Stutters Conference. She currently serves on the board of directors of Friends: The National Association of Young People who Stutter. Roisin is a nurse practitioner who specializes in ICU and end of life care. She is now working on the front lines of the SARS-Cov2 epidemic (otherwise known as COVID-19) providing ICU care in a New York City hospital."

You can listen to this podcast at:



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Nursing on the spectrum: What nurses with autism want you to know

"My name is Jackie Anne.  I am in my early 30s and am a nurse I may have even been your nurse.  Unknown to you, and many I work side by side with daily, I also have autism."

                                                                                 Jackie Anne Blair, RN

“I have an excellent memory. My hearing is very sensitive in a way that I can hear things that others can’t. I’m often the first to hear alarms. I can differentiate sounds quickly and more easily. My sensitivity to touch helps with palpation during a nurse exam. I can feel if something is different or off. I perseverate about my patient’s issues. If something is off, or I just can’t pinpoint a certain diagnosis or issues, I do everything I can to figure it out."

"I am also hyper-aware of cross-contamination, and am a bit obsessive with handwashing. I don’t judge patient’s based on a diagnosis. As your nurse, I understand that you are so very much more than the list of diseases, disabilities and symptoms in your chart.”

                                                                                      Anita Lesko, RN, CRNA

Anita Lesko, RN, CRNA is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist specializing in anesthesia for neurosurgery, organ transplants and orthopedic joint replacement. She states: "My gift of Asperger disorder gives me the ability to have what I call my ‘laser focus.’ It’s the ability to stay focused on a project for extreme periods of time with total focus and concentration".

In 2018, Anita advocated for autism acceptance to the United Nations. She has also published books and spoken at conferences with Temple Grandin.


Advocating Autism Acceptance to the United Nations, with Anita Lesko | EDB 123 (

Brandon is an RN with a masters degree, soon to be a Nurse practitioner in Texas. On his "Thriving with ASD" channel, he shares his journey to diagnosis and his coping skills for living with autism.

                                           Registered Nurse With Autism Spectrum Disorder - YouTube

                                           How I got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder - YouTube

Sherri Schultz, pen name Pensive Aspie is "an Aspie, a wife, a mom, an aunt, a nurse, a Christian, a supporter of equality, a bibliophile, and a fan but not a fanatic of most things sci-fi and logical. My passion is Asperger's and helping others on the spectrum. I run a small online support group for individuals with ASD. I have found that the more knowledge I share, the more I receive."
About | Pensive Aspie (

Another Aspie Nurse writes:

 "I have emotional intelligence, and am fully capable of empathy, and can socialize with purpose.......I have learned to use words to find out what I cannot discern otherwise. I have learned to recognize most people’s signs of illness, pain, sadness, anger, through decades of being a CNA, and have learned to use humor in small scripted ways to make day to day nursing smoother… Such as “oops! Let me clean my hands before helping you with that…don’t want to give you a gift that keeps on giving!” just small comments here and there that usually will elicit a smile from my patients."

Lee is a nursing student in the UK

He has a number of videos on YouTube including: Asperger's and Nursing: A personal and professional view on being a student nurse

Anna has Asperger’s syndrome.

She works in the operating room as a nurse anesthetist.

Color a nurse with Asperger's in the, "I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional!" coloring book. I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional!: Maheady APRN, Donna Carol, Nuenke, Sue, Gili, Tom: 9781075196065: Books