Friday, September 25, 2015

From sacral agenesis to ALS, Susie Pratt, RN is dealing with it!

Susie Cutino Pratt wrote chapter 4 in my book, The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities. 

In the chapter,"Taking the first step...nursing with sacral agenesis", Susie shares her journey.

She wrote about her parents and her mother's "chronic sorrow". 

She also discussed the support and encouragement she received from nurses who cared for her as a child. 

In spite of obstacles, she landed an interview with the director of the Nursing Department at Long Island University.

Over the years, she held many different nursing positions including teaching practical nursing students.

Now, Susie is bravely fighting 
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) with treatment from Massachusetts General Hospital's ALS Clinic.  

ALS patient Susie Pratt with her husband Jim, who travel from Middlebury, CT for her treatment at the MGH ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic: “I’ve been a nurse for 40 years. I was born with sacral agenesis, so to get ALS doesn’t make sense. But I’m dealing with it. The people here are amazing. It’s encouraging.”
Please help us find a cure for these deserving patients today

Please share this post and give if you can. 

With thanks! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mentoring nursing students and nurses with disabilities

Mentoring is important for all nurses but particularly important for nursing students and nurses with disabilities. 

For a nursing student born missing a hand, a mentor with a similar challenge can provide support, encouragement and answer questions like, “how do you catheterize someone?” or “How do you give an injection?" “Did you ask for reasonable accommodations?”

For a new graduate with a hearing loss, a mentor can provide guidance, advice and answer questions such as, “Did you disclose your hearing loss before or after you were hired?” “Do you use an amplified or electronic stethoscope?” “What workplace accommodations did you ask for?” “Do you tell patients about your hearing loss?”

For a seasoned nurse with a mental health challenge, a mentor can offer advice and provide support.  A mentor can answer questions, suggest support groups and discuss the benefits and risks of disclosure.

A nursing faculty member newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can find support and guidance from another faculty member with a disability. “How did you handle disclosure to administration?” “Did you disclose to students or nurses at clinical sites?” 

So, where can a student or nurse find a mentor? is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the inclusion of nursing students and nurses with disabilities in the nursing profession. The organization provides many resources and a long list of mentors with various disabilities.

Mentors can also be found by reading the books "The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses with disabilities" and "Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disAbilities" Both books include chapters written by nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Contact information is included following each chapter.

If you are a nurse or nursing student with a are not alone! Others have paved the way. Reach out and get connected!

If you have paved the way as a nurse or nursing student with a disability, reach out and become a mentor. can connect you to someone who needs your support.

All the best!

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog CarnivalMore posts on this topic can be found a
If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Reassignment as a reasonable accommodation

 Rachel M. Weisberg, Staff Attorney, Equip for Equality

Rachel Weisberg, Esq. wrote an informative blog post for 

Many nurses with disabilities have questions about reassignment as a reasonable accommodation. Ms. Weisberg shares information about a court ruling against United Airlines. This ruling may have an impact on other employers. An excerpt is included below.

The ADA defines “reasonable accommodation” to include “reassignment to a vacant position,” 42 U.S.C. § 12111, and in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that reassignment can be a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, see U.S. Airways, Inc. v. Barnett, 535 U.S. 391 (2002). Despite these clear proclamations, for many years, courts remained divided as to what the ADA required, exactly, when it came to reassignment. Some courts said reassignment requires employers to permit an employee to compete for the vacant position, while others said it requires employers to place an employee in the vacant position, subject to certain exceptions.

In 2012, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in EEOC v. United Airlines, 693 F.3d 760 (7th Cir. 2012), took a step toward shoring up the judicial disagreement when it joined other courts and held that, absent a bona fide seniority system, reassignment as a reasonable accommodation requires employers to place employees with disabilities in a vacant position for which they are qualified, provided that such accommodations would be ordinarily reasonable and would not present an undue hardship to the employer. This is true even if there are more qualified applicants for the position. United appealed the court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

Under the terms of the consent decree announced in June 2015, United will pay over $1 million to a small class of former employees and will implement changes to its national reassignment policy so that it is consistent with the Seventh Circuit’s ruling. Many in the disability rights community are hopeful that the United Airlines ruling and consent decree will have a ripple effect among employers.

To read more from this blog post, click on the link below.

Can you share your experience with a request for reassignment?

Do you think the United Airlines ruling will have a ripple effect among employers of healthcare workers?

With thanks!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering nurses on 9.11

Today, I would like to remember and thank all of the nurses who worked on and following the attack on 9.11.2001.

Maj. Jennifer Glidewell is one of those nurses....

She recounts...."the memories of the hours following the order to get out come to Glidewell like snapshots." 

"She remembers hearing someone say that there was a patient in the Pentagon courtyard and running to see what she could do to help. She remembers seeing that patient emerge from the side of the building where the plane hit with his clothes ripped up and his skin "just hanging off."

"She remembers the first time she saw the smoke billowing from the building and realizing that "it wasn't just a drill." She remembers taking charge of the triage in the courtyard. She remembers getting the notification that there was another plane inbound and they had 20 minutes to get everyone out. She remembers getting told just two minutes later that the plane wasn't 20 minutes out, it was 20 miles out."

"We all just looked at each other and said 'well, I guess we just keep working until it gets here,'" she said. "Not a single person left the courtyard."

"She remembers her medic asking to go into the burning building to look for survivors. She remembers the three-star Air Force general coming up to her and asking where she needed him to be."

"There was no rank that day," Glidewell said. "There were just people taking care of people." 

"At the end, she remembers going back into the courtyard and standing among the body bags, still waiting, still hoping that one more person would be brought out alive. No one ever was."

Click on the link below to read more.

Where were you on 9-11? Were you a nurse on duty that day or in the days to come? Were you injured or disabled? 

Please share your story....we can NEVER forget!

With thanks,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mom + Pediatric Nurse + Amputee + Radio Show Host = Awesome!

"As the host of the online radio show Ask MomRN, Tamara Walker’s patients are people she will likely never meet. But the nurse of more than 20 years still feels like her Oklahoma City-based show fulfills the mission she trained for at Oklahoma Baptist University years ago."

“I consider what I’m doing to be non-traditional nursing,” Walker said. “I’m still able to use a lot of my nursing experience in order to share important information, advice, and support."

“The things that I learned in nursing school and as a nurse have all combined to start this platform.”

Tamara Walker never expected her nursing career would lead to her own radio show, appearances in local and national media, or to a spot as a child health expert on The Rachael Ray Show.

Her motivation for becoming a nurse was a desire to provide the same type of care for others that she received as a child.

Tamara wears a prosthetic leg due to a birth defect.

Pediatrics was a natural fit for her. She worked in pediatrics at Baptist Medical Center for three years.

"Working with an artificial leg was challenging, especially after spending several hours on her feet."

Click the link below to read more about Tamara Walker's journey and the "Ask MomRN" radio show.

Love to hear your thoughts!