For National Epilepsy Awareness month, I "chatted" with Erica Laney, a nurse/mentor with ExceptionalNurse.com. Erica was diagnosed with epilepsy at 11 years old. She has grand-mal seizures and has been practicing as a nurse for four years. Here is some of what we discussed.
DM: Did you require accommodations on NCLEX?
EL:"No accommodations are needed for work; if I am sick or have an "episode/aura" I call in and go home."
DM: Where do you work? Did you disclose? Accommodations? Challenges?
What has contributed to your success?
DM: Finding the right niche is so important for nurses with disabilities.
DM: What would you say to another nurse or nursing student with epilepsy? Advice? suggestions?
EL: Stay positive!!! There is hope! Evaluate your type of epilepsy. Do you have an aura? Warning signs? Try to be as honest as possible with your co-workers if you feel comfortable. It's better to disclose and have people around you aware of your situation instead of being surprised! Epilepsy doesn't have to be a burden; I use it often to connect with patients and even co-workers.
DM: Your positive attitude shines through!
EL: "Epilepsy may change your life--but that isn't always a bad thing!"
DM: Erica, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. We celebrate you and others with epilepsy this month. You are a role model to others and have demonstrated that nursing with epilepsy is possible!