Thursday, December 31, 2020

Top 5 Exceptional Nurse blog posts about nurses with disabilities in 2020!

 Let's take a look back on 2020!  Here are the top 5 Exceptional Nurse blog posts about nurses with disabilities. 

Bethany J. Baker, BSN, RNlikely first Deaf nurse in Florida, graduates!

                                                                                Bethany Baker, BSN,RN

BYU professors design Bluetooth stethoscope to keep health care practitioners safe amid COVID-19 -- Also helped nursing student who wears hearing aids!

Andrea Dalzell, RN... A nurse who uses a wheelchair receives one million dollar surprise!
                                                                               Andrea Dalzell,BSN, RN 

NightWare app may help nurses with PTSD

Help for Indiana nurses stuck on suspension due to Covid-19
                                                                                   Lorie Brown, RN, JD

Cheers and Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Bethany J. Baker, BSN, RN, likely first Deaf nurse in Florida, graduates!


"AHHHHH I AM TRUBIZ A NURSE!!!!!! I am more than likely the very FIRST Deaf nurse in Florida! They said it cannot be done; it was DONE! Like VP Harris said, I may be the first but I won’t be the last! I officially graduated from my nursing program tonight and here’s to my future as a nurse."

Bethany Baker graduated from the School of Nursing at the University of North Florida. On Facebook, she announced the news and repeated the Florence Nightingale Pledge in American Sign Language (ASL) .

"Hello everyone!

I will grab this time to state the Florence Nightingale Pledge for nursing: I do solemnly pledge myself, to practice my profession faithfully, do all in my power to elevate the standards of my profession, and to dedicate myself to the welfare of those committed to my care. Thank you for all of your support and belief in me as I went through the nursing program. Now, you are looking at Bethany J. Baker, BSN, RN. I love you all!"

So proud of you Bebe!!!



Friday, November 27, 2020

NightWare app may help nurses with PTSD


The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new smartphone app that can detect and interrupt nightmares in adults with PTSD.

The NightWare app, runs on the Apple Watch and Apple iPhone and adapts to the individual.

During sleep, Apple Watch sensors monitor heart rate and body movement. These data are then used to create a unique sleep profile using a proprietary algorithm.

Using a gyroscope and accelerometer, similar to fitness watches, the NightWare app detects that a patient is experiencing a nightmare based on changes in heart rate and movement. It provides slight vibrations through the Apple Watch to arouse the patient and interrupt the nightmare, without fully awakening the patient.

The NightWare app is available by prescription only and is intended for use in adults aged 22 years and older with PTSD.

Interested? Read more at: and at




Wednesday, November 18, 2020

For Prematurity Awareness Month, we celebrate nurses who were born as premies!


                                                              Light it up Purple!

Throughout Prematurity Awareness Month, March of Dimes shines a light on the global crisis of prematurity by raising awareness and asking for lifesaving donations.

Brittany Boolos, RN was born prematurely at 27 weeks weighing 2 pounds 7 ounces. She spent several months in a NICU. She is now working in the NICU at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Stacey Hamilton RN was born at 31 weeks. Her mother had placenta previa. Stacey spent 7 weeks in NICU. She now works as a senior staff neonatal nurse at Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ashley Moore, RN was born weighing one pound eleven ounces. She stayed in NICU for two months. She now works as a pediatric nurse at Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC.

Elizabeth Wertz, RN was born at 26 weeks. She spent two months in NICU. Her twin sister passed away at two days old. She worked at Indiana University Health North in the NICU and later became a clinical educator. Elizabeth is in graduate school studying to become a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

For more information about prematurity, or to help or make a donation, visit the web site of the March of Dimes



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Nurses in Palm Beach County, Florida are invited to participate in "Healers in the Garden"


"Palm Health Foundation is partnering with Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens to thank local nurses for their tireless work during the pandemic. We invite all local nurses to participate in the Healers in the Gardens program, taking place now until June 2021, which grants nurses free access to the gardens."

"Recognizing the growing demands and complexities nurses are facing, Palm Health Foundation and the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens (ANSG) have joined together to offer a free day of art and nature to healthcare heroes through Healers in the Gardens. The program is funded by a grant from Palm Health Foundation and will offer 500 Palm Beach County nurses and their guests complimentary admittance to ANSG to acknowledge the community’s gratitude and respect for their devotion to patient care. The program begins on October 1, 2020 as part of Palm Health Foundation’s Train the Brain: Resiliency and Self-Care in the Face of Adversity campaign. The Healers in the Gardens program runs through June 30, 2021."

Nurses can reserve their tickets here:



Friday, September 18, 2020

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Carlos Larrauri APRN uses his lived experience with schizophrenia to help others


Carlos "Tino" Larrauri, APRN is on a mission! As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, who happens to have schizophrenia, his goal is to interface practice, policy and research to reduce health disparities for people living with mental illness.

As a practicing nurse practitioner, he is dual-board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. He serves on the board of directors for The National Alliance on Mental Illness and NAMI Miami-Dade. 

When he isn't seeing patients, he is busy public speaking, advocating and writing for publication. He also plays the guitar and harmonica and writes original music based on his lived experience. He performs with his friend Matthew "Matteo" Racher as FOGDOG

You can learn more about Carlos "Tino" Larrauri, APRN at: 

Bravo and thanks for the all the work you do Tino!



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Nurses with disabilities: Need help from FEMA?


In California

For disaster- specific information in California, including eligible counties: Visit 

 Accessible videos can be found at the FEMA channel:

Outside of California 

Register with FEMA

Reasonable accommodations with the American Red Cross, FEMA and other partners 

FEMA assistance does not impact government benefits 

Please pass these accessible resources along!  

Stay safe, 


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Andrea Dalzell, RN... A nurse who uses a wheelchair receives one million dollar surprise!


What a remarkable achievement! Our hats off to Andrea Dalzell, RN, Good Morning America and The Craig H.Neilsen Foundation!

Andrea is an exceptional nurse and long time disability advocate. This photo is also included on the www. web site.

We wish her all the best!  

You can view the GMA clip at:



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

For homeschoolers: "I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional" is an art activity that demonstrates that disability isn't a barrier to becoming a nurse!


In a celebration of abilities, this coloring book includes illustrations of twenty-three nurses working in a wide variety of healthcare settings. All of the nurses have visible or invisible disabilities. The nurses represent real-life nurses working in a variety of practice settings (e.g. camp, NASA, amusement park, school, hospital, clinic, church, cruise ship and more). 

The nurses have disabilities related to hearing and vision loss, amputations, cerebral palsy, diabetes, osteogenesis imperfecta, Asperger's syndrome, spina bifida and epilepsy.

Some nurses use sign language, a clear face mask or an amplified stethoscope. Others use a crutch, wheelchair or service dog.

Coloring the pictures can be a fun art activity as well as a teaching tool to begin early discussions about diversity, acceptance and career possibilities.

Proceeds of sales of the coloring book benefit the scholarship fund for nursing students with disabilities.

The coloring book can be purchased at:

Thanks for your support and please share!



Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Free Mindfulness Meditations for nurses from Headspace

Mindfulness meditation can positively impact your mental and physical health. Headspace is offering all US healthcare professionals who work in public health settings free access to Headspace Plus through 2020.

"What’s going on right now is a challenge for everyone. But you, our healthcare professionals, are particularly overburdened. Headspace wants to be here for you and support you as best we can. Helping you be kind to yourself, and your own health, during this difficult time. If you are a healthcare professional, you can redeem your subscription using your National Provider Identifier (NPI) and email address. Or, if you are a nurse and you don’t have an NPI, you can provide your organization information to verify your credentials."

Learn more at

Be well!


Sunday, July 12, 2020

BYU professors design Bluetooth stethoscope to keep health care practitioners safe amid COVID-19 -- Also helped nursing student who wears hearing aids!

Chia-Chi Teng and Craig Nuttall

Sahalie Donaldson, Deseret News reported:

Chia-Chi Teng, a professor of information technology and cybersecurity at BYU, left, and Craig Nuttall, an emergency nurse practitioner and professor in BYU’s College of Nursing, pose for a photo with their newly designed Bluetooth stethoscope on the BYU campus in Provo on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The device makes it easier and safer for doctors wearing personal protective equipment to take the heart rate of a patient who might have COVID-19. Nuttall holds the device close to his heart and the app on the phone transmits the audio signal of his heart rate to Bluetooth earbuds that Teng is wearing. 

Teng said the device has even helped a BYU nursing student with a hearing disability. She was having trouble in her classes because the clinical stethoscope didn’t work with her hearing aids. Upon reaching out to the professors about the issue, their design was able to connect to her hearing aids making it the “equivalent to an air pod” which “worked like a charm,” Teng said.

The materials for their stethoscope costs under $20 to make.

Both professors emphasized that their design is the world’s to use. They didn’t develop it to make money. The stethoscope’s plans are open sourced and information to make one can be found on GitHub. The accompanying app that allows for live streaming and recording is available on Apple’s TestFlight.

Teng and Nuttall said they hope the design can go on to open doors in telemedicine and improve access to health care in a low cost, sustainable way in any area of the world.

“We want people to use it. We aren’t doing it for our benefit, we are doing it for everyone else’s — especially where COVID is getting really bad right now, especially in Utah and western states,” Nuttall said. “This is needed right? Every single day providers and nurses are making the decision of ‘Do I listen to my patient’s heart and lungs or do I keep myself and my family safe?’ This makes it possible to do both.”

Read more about this stethoscope at:



Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Congratulations to the 2020 scholarship winners!!!!

Nursing students with a wide range of disabilities are increasing in number every year. Disabilities may include hearing loss, low vision, learning disabilities, limb differences, paralysis, mental illness, autism and chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and movement disorders.

Financing an education can be a challenge for some students with disabilities. In addition to routine expenses (tuition, room and board, books, uniforms, transportation), students may need to purchase an amplified or electronic stethoscope, computer software programs, or audio books—as well as medications, hearing aids, therapies, prostheses, special equipment or custom alterations to uniforms and lab coats. Working a part-time job may not be possible.

Scholarships are available from, a nonprofit resource network for nursing students and nurses with disabilities. The organization provides links to disability-related organizations, technology, equipment, financial aid, employment opportunities, mentors, blogs, continuing education, speakers, legal resources, social media groups, research and related articles.

The organization has been awarding scholarships to nursing students with disabilities since 2003. The awards are based on academic performance, letters of recommendation, financial need and an essay which answers the questions: “How do you plan to contribute to the nursing profession? How will your disability influence your practice as a nurse”? Due to support from many sources, we were able to award eight $500.00 scholarships. is honored to announce the winners for 2020!!!
Megan Highland from Yankton, SD will be attending Mitchell Technical Institute in South Dakota. In her essay she stated, "I will be able to support the family of young children to explain the process, what to expect and show them that this disease can be managed....I will use myself as a living example of what can be accomplished."

Madelyn Jones from Ottumwa, IA will be attending Indian Hills Community in Iowa. In her essay she wrote, "...I want to give comfort, love and peace to others when they need it most. This is why I have decided to become a nurse."

Kirsten Dreps from Liberty, PA will be attending Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. She wrote, "I know what it is like to be in the hospital, and I know the value of a good bedside manner. I can use my understanding of life with a disability to help other patients cope".

Mikayla Lawless from Groveland, MA will continue her studies in the School of Nursing at Endicott College in Massachusetts. In her essay she stated, "Nursing is an incredible piece of humanity that not many people get to experience. I would be honored to have the privilege to watch people grow after a traumatic injury."

Haley Gaines from Martin, GA will continue her studies in the BSN program at Augusta University in Georgia. Haley wrote, "I hope to leave an impact on the world through my struggles of diabetes, education and perseverance to never give up! My personal experiences have helped to shape my future. As strange as it sounds, diabetes has become more than my life; it has become part of my future!"

Emory Sanders from Ballwin, MO will be attending the University of Missouri-Columbia. In her essay she wrote, "I know how scary it is to be told that you have something wrong with your body. But I want to give my patients hope that they can push past it and find inspiration to fight it....I want to show them that having a disability doesn't limit your abilities in any way. It can only make you stronger as a person."

Aimee Milota from Elk Grove, CA will be attending Grand Canyon University in Arizona..  Aimee wrote, "I spent 15 years in and out of hospitals....The nurses in the hospital were there for me. They helped me get through every day....I plan on being the hardest worker...Many people see my disability as a barrier, but I see it as an inspiration to keep working harder."

Skylar Allen from Lancaster, OH will attend Capital University in Ohio.  Skylar wrote in her essay, "I decided that I will use my disease as a driving force, rather than a crutch, to make a difference in peoples' lives.I want to be a hope for little girls and boys who have lost hope. I want to be the light in the midst of the darkness of disease for children."
                       Congratulations and best wishes to all!! 

The scholarship awards are funded through donations, small grants and proceeds from book sales of “The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities”, “Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disabilities”, “Nursing students with disabilities change the course” and the coloring book "I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional! To make a donation or access the application, please visit 

Appreciate your support!

        With thanks, 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A case for hiring nurses with disabilities for contact tracing positions

Contact tracing

Reports indicate that the number of contact tracers needed related to Covid-19 range from 100,000-300,000 or more.
Qualifications to work as a contact tracer vary by state. Some local and state health departments only require a high school diploma and other state and local health departments are looking for people with a public health or nursing background. Some contact tracers are paid and some are volunteers.

Contact tracing is an art and a science. Establishing a good rapport with the contact is essential. Contact tracers need to have a good rapport with people in order to encourage a person to provide personal information about their health and contacts. When done well, the work involved in contact tracing can be tedious and demanding. Over time, it can also take an emotional toll on the interviewer. 

Nurses with disabilities (e.g. multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy and chronic illnesses) can hit the ground running. Voted the most "trusted profession", nurses understand medical terms, know how to establish relationships with people, maintain privacy and cultural sensitivity, and provide health related teaching. Nurses are resourceful and have experience making referrals to community supports and documenting their assessments and findings. 

Many nurses with disabilities have years of experience and are now unable to work at the bedside. Often, they are eager to return to work. For some, a part-time position would work well. Others are in need of a full-time position with benefits. Virtual positions are ideal for many.

Deaf nurses can work with contacts who are deaf using sign language and lip reading.  Nurses with low vision can use screen readers. Still others speak a language other than English.

The skills and "lived experiences" of nurses with disabilities add to their abilities to connect with people. They have been on both sides of the "bed".

State and local health departments should put nurses with disabilities at the front of the line! 

For more information:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Help for Indiana nurses stuck on suspension due to Covid-19

Lorie Brown, RN, JD

Channel RTV6 Indianapolis aired a piece about nurses on suspension in Indiana.

"Nurses who are on probation are forced to stay on suspension longer than expected because of COVID-19, the virus they could help fight if they were working."

"Dozens of nurses are waiting for the Indiana State Board of Nursing to reinstate their licenses, but they're not considering license suspensions right now."

"Lorie Brown is both a nurse and attorney. She's fighting for nurses who are currently suspended or on probation to return and aid in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic."

"There are nurses right now who are ready, willing and able to work," Brown said. "Their suspension time where they're eligible to petition the board to lift it is over. But since the board isn't meeting in person, they are not meeting to determine if these nurses suspensions can be lifted."

To view the "Hiring Hoosiers" segment, click on

To contact Lorie Brown at Brown Law visit:

Stay safe!!!


P.S. Lorie is the real deal! I wrote a chapter, "Disabled Nurse Power: Stand, Sit or Roll in it!"in her book From Frustrated to Fulfilled.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Inspiration for nurses with disabilities from Vincent Van Gogh and Doctor Who

Vincent van Gogh - Self Portrait, 1887 at Art Institute of Chicago
Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter. He created about 2,100 artworks but only sold one painting during his lifetime. His work is characterized by bold color, and expressive brushwork. He struggled with mental illness for years, including aggressive actions toward others, and self injurious acts of cutting off part of his ear and commiting suicide at the age of 37.

In the following video clip from the BBC, the Doctor and Amy Pond give the viewer a remarkable glimpse at what it would be like for Van Gogh to see the later success of his work, through a 21 century visit to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

The inspirational message for nurses with disabilities includes,"Take all your chances while you can" and "turn your passion and pain into beauty". 



Thursday, January 2, 2020

Top 10 blog post about nurses with disabilities in 2019

Let's take a look back on 2019! These are the top 10 Exceptional Nurse blog posts about nurses with disabilities. 

Legally deaf nursing student who uses a wheelchair is hero
trying to save BART stabbing victim
Sophia Humphrey, Nursing student

Meet the Rollin' RNs

Congratulations to the 2019 Scholarship recipients!

SafeNClear "The Communicator Mask": A continuing education program for nurses

Think you can't do something? Take a look at Manami Ito, the first nurse in Japan with a prosthetic arm
Manami Ito

I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional!

Nurses who use wheelchairs are on a roll---all over the world!

For nurses who can't get the flu shot or don't want the flu shot

Hospital disinfectants linked to lung disease in nurses