Friday, October 30, 2015

Disability gets sexy thanks to a nurse with Crohn's disease

Jasmine Stacey, 24, a nurse in the UK has Crohn's disease. She underwent surgery to remove part of her intestine when she was 20 years old and needed an ileostomy bag.

Jasmine has launched a new line of luxury lingerie that allows women who also have stoma bags to feel sexy again.

The nurse/designer said she was "inspired to come up with a stylish range of underwear by the lack of seductive garments available for women in her position".

"I want to take the stigma away from having a stoma bag and prove you can still be sexy with underwear. 

"I want to get the message out there that it is not as bad as people think and that young people have stoma bags as well as old people."

"We hope our underwear is stylish without being flimsy and empowers women to feel confident whether they have stoma bags, scars, or simply want more stomach control." 


Leave it to a nurse!

P.S. The BBC has been sharing her story!

Love to hear your thoughts,

Read more:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween and asylums visits: Are ghost seekers being disrespectful?

As Sarah Handley-Cousins writes in:  
Ghosts are Scary, Disabled People are Not: The Troubling Rise of the Haunted Asylum

"This past spring, the defunct Willard Psychiatric Center in Ovid, New York, opened its doors for tours — one day only, with no advance sale tickets."

"I left bright and early from Buffalo and arrived in Ovid with plenty of time before the tour. But instead of getting my ticket, I found myself at a dead stop, just before the asylum grounds, in a line of hundreds of cars."

"When the tour of the asylum was announced, news had apparently traveled through local ghost-hunting circles. Most of the folks who had lined up by the thousands to tour the old asylum weren’t interested at all in the history of asylums — they were hoping to see a ghost."

"I like a ghost story as much as anyone, but the patients who lived in institutions like Willard and Pennhurst weren’t spooky spirits — they were human beings with complex lives."

"Haunted attractions that use asylums as settings rely on reductive and offensive portrayals of the mentally ill as horrifying, dangerous, and evil people that must be kept within an asylum for the protection of the public. They exploit the ways that the real patients of mental institutions were treated for cheap thrills — “patients” are often depicted in restraints or undergoing medical procedures and experiments. Indeed, part of the “creep” factor is the general disrepair of the institution, invoking the very real neglect patients experienced. The thousands of “paranormal investigators” who hoped for a tour of the Willard Asylum were looking for... an eerie setting filled with the ghosts of scary, dangerous lunatics. In the process, they disrespected the grounds of Willard and likely influenced New York State to think twice about opening the grounds for tours in future years, making it even harder for historians to gain access to the asylum."

This Halloween, do me a favor: think twice before you buy a ticket and stand in line to visit a “haunted asylum” attraction. Consider picking up a book about the history of those women and men deemed mentally ill instead."

Are asylum ghost seekers being disrespectful? Getting cheap thrills?

Love to hear your thoughts about this.

With thanks,

Read more at Nursing Clio, an open access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog project that ties historical scholarship to present-day issues related to gender and medicine.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Nurses, obesity and disability

A recent story about a nurse in the UK stirs some serious questions.

Nurse Carol Sykes could barely walk let alone care for people. A size 34 at 5ft 4in, she was morbidly obese with diabetes, gout and arthritis. 

Her wake-up call was when she  forced to give up the job she loved.

“I was in horrendous pain and it got to the point where I couldn’t even walk,” she says.
She was off work for three months and swapped day shifts for night ones. “The patients were usually in bed most of the night so there was less rushing around”.

A retreat in Spain, which combines exercise, mind coaching, healthy eating and juicing helped her shed the weight and return to working as a nurse. 

She states, “It’s amazing because I never wanted to leave in the first place.”

How many nurses are becoming disabled due to obesity?  Do you know nurses who are giving up positions due to obesity and related disabilities?

The obesity epidemic is real....

What can we do?

Love to hear your thoughts!

With thanks,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Nurse practitioners with disabilities...Take a bow!

Nurses with disabilities often ask, "Can I become a nurse practitioner?"
The short answer is "YES, you can!"
Here are some of their stories. 

Morag MacDonald is a nurse with a significant hearing loss. She has practiced as a nurse for more than 28 years and has worked on spinal cord, pediatric and mental health units. Currently, she works as a nurse practitioner at Capital Region Mental Health Center in Hartford, Connecticut.  She has knowledge of pathological and cultural viewpoints and can communicate in all modalities (oral, signed English, American Sign Language and gestures) in order to meet the health needs of d/Deaf patients.

Greg Mercer is an adult geriatric nurse practitioner with mental illness. Greg has a blog called Big Red Carpet Nursing. He wrote, "I deeply understood depression, suicidality, and the inpatient patient experience...  I knew how to manage agitated patients without meds or force." 

He works at McClean Hospital, a psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Greg has worked on all of the inpatient psychiatric units at McLean and the ECT service. He has also supervised clinical placements for various nursing schools.

Carla Pease was born with cerebral palsy. She finished her LPN certificate and then finished an RN program. Carla continued on to get her masters in nursing. She is now a board-certified adult-geriatric nurse practitioner. Carla lives in North Dakota and has been practicing as a nurse practitioner for 3 years. She states, “The only disability is ignorance. Cerebral Palsy is not my stumbling block, it is my stepping stone.”


Are you a nurse practitioner with a disability? Are you a nurse with a disability interested in becoming a nurse practitioner? Share your stories and questions here. 

And, get connected with others at

With thanks!



Morag MacDonald (2006). "The Little Engine that could: Nursing with profound deafness". In D. Maheady, Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disAbilities, New York:iUniverse.

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, October 16, 2015

Nurses with disabilities: Have you suffered discrimination?


     On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). The Act emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis. The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations. The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

What is the impact of the ADAAA on nurses with disabilities?

In May 2015. Leslie Neal-Boyland PhD, APRN, CRRN, FAAN and Michelle Miller JD, MPH, RN published an article in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship based on legal case reviews of nurses with disabilities.
"The purpose of this legal case review and analysis was to determine what kinds of cases involving nurses with disabilities are typically brought to attorneys, which cases tend to be successful, and how and when a nurse with a disability should pursue legal action.

The review used the standard legal case analysis method to analyze legal cases that have been brought by registered nurses (RNs) with physical or sensory disabilities from 1995 to 2013. The cases span the period following the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 through the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

A nurse attorney reviewed the background material to find every case involving an RN with a disability, excluding those with mental health disabilities or substance abuse issues. Case analysis was conducted using standard legal case analysis procedures. Fifty-six cases were analyzed.

The cases were categorized into five types of legal claims: (a) disability discrimination (84%); (b) failure to accommodate (46%); (c) retaliation (12.5%); (d) association (3.6%); and (e) hostile work environment (7%). The cases were largely unsuccessful, particularly those brought under the ADA instead of the ADAAA.

The case analysis revealed that several cases brought by RNs with disabilities using the ADA might have been successful under the ADAAA. In addition, the case analysis has provided vital information for administrators, leaders, and clinical nurses regarding when a case is appropriate for legal action.

These findings from this review will help nurses recognize when they are being treated in a discriminatory way in the workplace, what their legal rights and responsibilities are, and at what point they should pursue legal action."

Have you been discriminated against? Please share your thoughts, experiences or comments below.

With thanks!

Registered Nurses With Disabilities: Legal Rights and ResponsibilitiesLeslie Neal-Boylan PhD, APRN, CRRN, FAAN and Michelle D. Miller JD, MPH, RN in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship Volume 47Issue 3pages 248–257May 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Six ways to have more fun at your disability accommodation request meeting

Nurses and nursing students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation in nursing education programs and employment settings.

The process is not always easy. It often requires meeting after meeting and piles of documentation.

Humor is one of my best coping skills, so why not apply it to a disability accommodation request meeting?

Here are a few things to consider:

Send out invitations to everyone who will be attending the meeting. Invite the most prominent disability or civil right attorney in your area.

Or....invite the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Do not wear water-proof mascara. If you cry, you will look like Alice Cooper.

Dress for success!

Have a television in the room tuned into a court channel.

Award door prizes to the person who makes the most positive comments or suggestions. Wouldn't a copy of this book make a great door prize?

Serve food.

Perhaps a dip? Stuffed? Poppers?

Music ?


All kidding aside, the meetings can be brutal. It takes courage, confidence, determination, and perseverance.

A little bit of humor can't hurt!

Any additional thoughts or ideas? Please share below. You just may win a prize!

Best wishes,


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What's disability to me?

The World Health Organization (WHO) produced a series of videos about people with disabilities. Each film relates to a different chapter of the World report on disability, launched on 9 June 2011 in New York. Blind aboriginal musician Geoffrey Yunupingu Gurrumul has supplied the soundtrack to the first four films. 

WHO states "Hearing directly from people with disabilities about their lives is vital to good research and effective policy."

Please take a few minutes to meet Rachael, a nurse with disability from the United Kingdom. She shares the obstacles she has overcome in her career.

Rachael asks, "What is disability to you"?

Please share your response to Rachael's question.

With thanks,


Friday, October 2, 2015

Living a good life with a serious illness: Lessons from a nurse with fatal breast cancer

I want to introduce you to Amy Berman, RN. 

Amy's communication to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was published in the Washington Post.

"News reports say you will soon make a final decision about paying doctors and other providers who talk to their patients about end-of-life planning. I have a fatal form of breast cancer, and I’d like to tell you how such conversations have allowed me to survive, and live well, in the five years since my diagnosis."

"I am a nurse, a nationally recognized expert in care of the aged and senior program officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation, which is devoted to improving the care of older people in the United States. Yet my perspective is not simply professional. For, you see, I live with Stage 4 (end-stage) inflammatory breast cancer. And while this metastatic cancer will one day kill me, the advanced-care planning conversations I have had with my health-care team have been lifesaving since my diagnosis."

"This kind of conversation initially helped my care team understand what was important to me and helped clarify my goals of care. Faced with an incurable disease and a prognosis where only 11 to 20 percent survive to five years...., I came to understand that my priority was to seek a “Niagara Falls trajectory” — to feel as well as possible for as long as possible, until I quickly go over the precipice. Quality of life is more important to me than quantity of days, if they are miserable days."

"I estimate I’ve saved about a million dollars by avoiding care I do not want, which includes the cost of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery to remove the breast, at least one hospitalization for that care, and the follow-up care to the surgery. Chemotherapy alone would have cost upward of $500,000. Insurance would have covered much of this, but not all."

"Meanwhile, I continue to work full time and have redoubled my efforts to improve the health-care system for older people. And I live a good life with serious illness."

"The benefits of a rule from Medicare covering such conversations are clear: better health, better care and, in many cases, lower costs. Most important, these conversations will be lifesaving, enabling those of us with serious illness to live the way we want to, fully and deeply for as long as possible."

Should doctors and other providers be paid to talk to patients about end-of-life planning? If so, why?

Love to hear your thoughts,