Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lawmaker Introduces the Keith Nolan Air Force Deaf Demonstration Act. Good news for nurses?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On March 31, 2015, "Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced the Keith Nolan Air Force Deaf Demonstration Act, which would allow deaf and hard of hearing individuals to serve in the United States Air Force in a demonstration program. Original co-sponsors include Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep.John Delaney, Rep. Ted Lieu, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
Currently, the Department of Defense sets medical standards for enlistment. Within the "hearing" section, there are requirements for hearing levels that would exclude an individual who is deaf. The section also excludes individuals who currently or historically use a hearing aid, or who have a cochlear implant.
The Keith Nolan Air Force Deaf Demonstration Act would create a demonstration program in the Air Force for 15-20 Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who would otherwise qualify to serve in the Air Force."
Is this good news for nurses and other healthcare professionals who are d/Deaf and eager to serve in the Air Force?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Life is like a parade...guest blog post from Dr. Rachel Silva NP

What a privilege it is to share this guest blog post from Dr. Rachel Silva, NP!

Life is like a parade

I've often wondered about nurses who left full-time work due to a disability. Working as a hospital nurse, I've questioned how supportive colleagues would be of another co-worker with a disability that impaired their speed on a busy hospital floor. As with any profession, I think it's important to differentiate between our profession and our purpose in life. Our profession, or particular place of employment, may change. But, our purpose in life is the constant force in pursuing our passions.

Life is like a parade. Unless it's a huge float in the Macy's Day Parade on TV, we have no idea what's coming around the corner. Around the corner could be an achievement or celebration, or a trial of some sort. One of the things about overcoming trials or tribulations in life, is the light you give others encountering similar circumstances. I believe most of the time we can be unaware of the casual influence we can have on others, including a disability.

Many years ago I had a patient that became disabled and was hospitalized due to her injuries. Naturally, the grief and acceptance of her disability was overwhelming. However, the deeper pain for her was questioning how she would be able to support her family financially. Her physician's nurse called the unit to say she would be coming by to check on the patient, and called to inquire what room number the patient was in. I had spoken to her many times on the phone. She was always joyful and truly enjoyed her job as a RN in the office. I looked forward to meeting her for the first time.

Shortly thereafter, a lady in an electronic wheelchair appeared at the nursing station desk. She politely gave her name to the receptionist and stated she was there to visit a patient. I stood there paralyzed as she wheeled down to the patient's room, realizing the lady in the wheelchair was the joyful nurse I had always spoken to over the phone from the physician's office. Later that evening, the patient's sense of purpose and passion in life seemed to appear from nowhere. As she spoke, she shared how much it meant to her that the (disabled) nurse from the office came to visit her and gave her hope. Hope for her future, and hope for her family.

The nurse/lady in the wheelchair not only touched the patient's heart, but my heart, as well. This was nearly 15 years ago. I still remember the physician smiling and telling me "yeah, she had a really hard time when she realized she would never be able to walk again. But, fortunately, that didn't stop her from enjoying life. And, she loves sharing her life with others."
Follow and learn more from Dr. Rachel Silva, NP
The Nurse Practitioner Show https://yourahi.org/nppodcast/

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sunlight project nurses needed!

This was originally posted on Greg Mercer's "Bid Red Carpet Blog".

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

As many of you kind readers already know from recent posts, I’m building a network to help nurses safely report abuses against them. I intend to level the playing field in health care, and help nurses gather the power we need to stand up for ourselves and our patients, confidently and successfully.

But there are so many details to consider! I could think about them all for the rest of my life and never reach certainty, but experience shows me a far better way: try out promising tactics, learn and adapt from experience. More efficient, more effective: better. Basic nursing process, really, on a large scale.

Today I present one such detail, crucially important in my estimation. I want to protect nurses from retaliation, and I want to enhance the credibility of the information they offer. Anonymous reporting lends itself to abuses, clearly: lies, fake reports, bullying: poor credibility. Yet identified nurse reporters remain unacceptably vulnerable to retaliatory abuse. Why else would I bother with this project? It’s a conundrum: how to have the best of both worlds, without the baggage?

I have two goals in this post. One: recruit any clever solutions anyone out there might have to offer. Nurses are such a clever crowd! Two: offer my tentative solution, for your consideration. I hope to learn from your opinions.

Nurses are excellent judges of clinical reports. We do it all the time. We know crap when we hear it. My thought is this: if we can recruit nurses to vet anonymous nurse reports, perhaps we can protect both sources and credibility. If we steer reports from a given specialty to expert nurses in that specialty for assessment, we take an important step forward. We gather information ‘certified’ by a trusted judge. Unlike Yik Yak anonymous gossip and the like, we can offer high quality information. And we can offer sources whatever level of anonymity they want.

Next, on we go of course to other steps in the process, other details, like where/how to store and offer such information. Another day… When is anything in nursing simple or easy?

Here’s our need for now: who out there would be willing to offer a few minutes here and there to vet reports? There’s no liability involved as far I can tell: no one need decide a report is true, simply check it for credibility, nothing more. Then you can pass it on to the next step: done! The whole point of this project is to spread the light of day widely, WITH ABSOLUTELY THE LEAST RISK POSSIBLE TO ALL INVOLVED.

Nurses get the job done. I’m a nurse. You’re a nurse. See?

P.S.: What do you good folks think of the name?


***Please consider getting involved! Comment here and on Greg's blog. Click on this link.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

High school students to graduate as Registered Nurses...what about IDEA?

In March of 2015, I posted this story:

     Graduating high school with an associate’s degree in nursing will soon be a reality for some Valley High students in Texas.

     The rigorous, highly competitive program is an attempt to address the nursing shortage by getting nurses prepared sooner.
    Opinions related to this program have been varied. Advocates for the BSN degree as entry to practice have serious concerns. Others, are concerned about the maturity levels of high school students in clinical settings. Still others, ask how the nursing curriculum can be delivered in tandem with high school requirements-- without "watering down" one or the other?

     As an advocate for nurses and nursing students with disabilities, I have additional questions.

     The laws protecting people with disabilities are complicated.

      What is the potential impact of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on high school students who could be included in this program?   

     IDEA is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

     Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA  Part B.  A free, appropriate public education is defined to mean special education and related services. Special education means "specially designed instruction at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of the child with a disability..." 

     Related services are provided if students, require them in order to benefit from specially designed instruction. 

    States are required to ensure the provision of "full educational opportunity" to all children with disabilities.  IDEA requires the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) document with specific content and a required number of participants at an IEP meeting.     

     When students with disabilities are admitted to a college or university, IDEA no longer applies. Then, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies. Protections, services, funding, procedural safeguards and due process differ between IDEA and the ADA. 
     Will high school students with disabilities enrolled in a nursing program have greater protection under IDEA? Will they receive greater support, accommodation and protection under IDEA than they would receive under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?  

     **** Update to this story.....all eight of the students graduated in May of 2017. Congratulations and best wishes to all! ****






Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Confidentiality of Medical Information under ADA

Have questions about confidentiality of medical information under 


Read the latest information from the Department of Labor's Job 

Accommodation Network.

Consultants' Corner Volume 08 Issue 01

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Meet my co-authors: I promise they will inspire you!

Calling all nurses, students and supporters! 
I was asked recently to collaborate with ten other nurses on a new book, “From Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses’ System.”
To celebrate its release we’re holding a free telesummit on March 16-27, 2015…

The Empowered Nurses Book Telesummit:

 Rediscovering the Joy, Freedom and Passion in Nursing

I’m so excited for you to meet my co-authors, an amazing group of nurses!

If you’re in a hurry then go to this link right now to sign-up:

Are you frustrated because you love your career but you feel invisible and powerless to effect change and improve patient care? This telesummit is about getting back your power!

All of the nurses that contributed to the new book felt like I did – we loved our profession but realized that something was not quite right with nursing.  But we all found a way to rise above the problems and create a meaningful and fulfilling life for ourselves.

Each of us was interviewed for this telesummit. My interview is on, Disabled Nurse Power: Stand, Sit or Roll In It!. You’re going to be blown away with the practical advice and real-life tools that work– no matter how frustrated you feel – that will be shared at no cost from fellow nurses.

The interviews will be aired throughout the day so they’ll work around your schedule and whatever shift you work.

Just make sure you sign-up so you get access to this career and even life-changing information: 


Happy nursing!

Donna Maheady 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

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!'."
Check me out walking for the first time in 7 years! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHUjavG6qTk
Here's a little interview I did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY3ffBTc5Sk
Here's the link to my fundraiser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY3ffBTc5Sk

How can you help D'Andra? Please share your thoughts below.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nursing student calls in bomb threat to delay tests

"Danielle M. Sylvia, 27, of Salem, Ore., told detectives she

previously failed out of the nursing program at

Chemeketa Community College, but was reinstated as a

probationary student in January. Sylvia said she

made the two calls, one on Feb. 13 and one on Feb. 27, to

avoid tests due on the dates."

So many thoughts running through my head about this news.

Does Danielle have a mental health challenge? If so, did she

get the help she needed?

What message does this send to nursing programs and


Read more about the story. Please share your thoughts. 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Robot could one day help nurses lift!

What exciting news regarding an experimental robot that could one day help nurses lift patients!

"Scientists in Japan have developed an experimental nursing care robot, which is capable of tasks such as lifting a patient from a bed or providing assistance to someone who requires help standing.
Dubbed the “Robear”, the device is being viewed by its creators as leading the way to new approaches to providing care, especially for older patients."

Click on the link below to view photos.

What do you think? Could this work?