Thursday, September 16, 2021

Putting the spotlight on Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) with disabilities

 

                                                                                    Carolyn McKinzie, LPN

Carolyn McKinzie returned to work as a nurse following a below the knee amputation. She has held various nursing positions since then. In addition she is an author, blogger and Amputee Nurse consultant.

In an article she wrote for AbledAmputees.org she stated,

"My right below-knee amputation was the result of an auto accident when I was 32. I would undergo several surgeries to try and repair the damage done from the crushing injury to my lower leg. There were infections, hardware exchanges and bone grafts. But despite all of those, I would lose it anyway.

It would end up being the best thing for me, but there are still some down days. Not all the time, but once and awhile. I used to fight those moods and tell myself I needed to stay positive. One day I realized that I had earned the right to have an occasional “poor me” day." 

Read more about Carolyn at Amputee Nurse Consultant/Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKAhttps://www.amputee-coalition.org/inmotion_online/inmotion-27-05-web/6/https://www.abledamputees.org/staff-writers,https://www.abledamputees.org/single-post/2014/11/09/ups-and-downs-by-carolyn-mckinzie-lpn-rbka  and http://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com/2017/12/self-defense-and-responsible-gun.html


                                                                               Britny Bensman, LPN

Britny Bensman is an LPN who is deaf. She studied biology at Gallaudet and while there learned sign language (ASL). She went on to study nursing at Hondros College of Nursing. She practices as a nurse and also teaches sign language (ASL).

A story reported by Chaunie Brusie states,"Bensman also started her own social media account, Deaf Med in 2016. Her Instagram account features stories of other deaf and hard-of-hearing nurses, along with tips, inspiration, and education. The social media trailblazer notes that simply sharing stories from other hard-of-hearing and deaf medical professionals have opened eyes and allowed others to turn negative experiences into positive ones."

Read more about Britny at https://nurse.org/articles/being-a-deaf-hearing-loss-nurse/https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWbsyC3gT87WqHl1PnZVeYg and https://m.facebook.com/access.deafmed/posts/?ref=page_internal


                                                                                     Michelle DiGiacomo, LPN

In a guest blog post, Michelle DiGiacomo wrote about her tracheostomy and becoming an LPN. "I am hardly qualified to dole out words of wisdom as I am still trying to figure it out myself. I can say that taking the power back was key for me.  If I allowed my trach to steal my future, then it truly would be a disabling condition. I had to carry on as I would have without it. I lost a lot of time being angry about what amounts to a botched surgery that I didn't need in the first place. Once I decided that I would pursue my career and socialize again, this issue could no longer hurt me. I am living my life and enjoying the same ups and downs as everyone else. I also learned that before I could put actions behind my decisions I had to accept my difference. Once it was no longer a problem for me, it would no longer be a problem for anyone else."

Read more about Michelle in her own words at https://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com/2017/10/breath-of-nurse-with-tracheostomy.html


Cheers!

Donna

Friday, August 13, 2021

Congratulations to the 2021 Exceptional Nurse Scholarship Winners!

 


Nursing students with disabilities continue to increase in number. Disabilities may include hearing loss, low vision, learning disabilities, limb differences, paralysis, mental illness, autism, chronic illnesses and 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 ExceptionalNurse.com, 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 two $500.00 scholarships.

ExceptionalNurse.com is honored to announce the winners for 2021!!!
          
Abigail Buker from Ewing, New Jersey will be attending the College of New Jersey. In her essay she wrote, "Having the same disability as my patients will create a connection further than just the nurse-patient relationship, but to have a nurse that has had and is currently living with the same disease will allow for a closer connection to be built."

Erica Flowers from Andover, Massachusetts will be attending the University of South Carolina. In her essay, she stated, "Long before a disease changed my life, I wanted to work in a hospital setting...In middle school rather than birthday presents I always asked for donations to Boston Children's Hospital. Ironically, in 2018 I landed in that same hospital, this time as a patient....Now I want to take these experiences and give back." 


                       Congratulations and best wishes to all!! 

The ExceptionalNurse.com 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 www.ExceptionalNurse.com. 


Appreciate your support!

        With thanks, 
Donna


Friday, July 16, 2021

Isabella Morrison Fogg, Civil War Nurse, only woman to receive disability pension as a result of war injuries

Isabella Morrison Fogg, Union nurse
 



According to the website of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Isabella Fogg was a Union nurse.

Born: December 1823, in New Brunswick, Canada

Served: Maine Camp and Hospital Association, Christian Commission, 1861 to 1865

Died: December 1873, in Washington, DC

"Fogg served with the Maine Camp and Hospital Association and later with the Christian Commission, caring for the wounded on twenty-nine battlefields while being exposed to enemy fire at least eight times.  She also served at various hospitals and on transport ships.  Late in the war she permanently injured her spine after falling through an open hatch of a hospital ship while hurrying to tend to a dying soldier."



Cheers!

Donna

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy July 4th! An interview with Paul McMillin, RN calls us to action!

                                                              Paul McMillin with Jon Stewart at the Capitol 2021

Paul McMillin, RN, BSN shared this blog post from Nursing One, a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, dedicated to championing causes that are important to nurses and nursing, written by Judith Kimchi-Wood, PhD, RN, MBA, CPHQ.

"To meaningfully commemorate our 244th Independence Day, I decided to interview Veteran Army Sergeant Paul McMillin. Paul is a 41-year-old married father of three young children who is a RN, BSN Neuro Critical Care nurse at a Columbus Ohio hospital, and whose story of war deployment and consequences may surprise you.

"Paul joined the Army in 2001 with the desire to be in an intelligence unit, but a chance opportunity landed him an infantry combat division that engaged in tactical warfare. In 2004, he was deployed to Mosul, Iraq for one year. During that time, military bases used Burn Pits to dispose of tons of waste. The waste included paper, Styrofoam trays, computer parts, food items, plastic wrap, water bottles, electronics, shipping materials, chemical waste, metal and aluminum products, chemicals, paint, medicate waste, body parts, dead animals, human waste, munitions, wood, rubber, and jet fuel as an accelerant. A Burn Pit is not a hole in a ground, a Burn Pit is a very large open-air burning area that operates 24x7 360 days and creates clouds of black smoke and with it, toxic fumes such as dioxins. Some were the size of a football field. The smoke and smell from the Burn Pits were always swirling in the air accelerated by the Middle Eastern wind and were a part of the daily life on the base.

A year later, Paul finished his service contract and returned to civilian life and service with the National Guard. For the next few years, Paul started experiencing subtle respiratory symptoms upon exertion such as running. In 2015 he was hospitalized in the ICU for three weeks for pneumonia and empyema needing a thoracotomy and chest tubes. The doctors were not sure why such a young healthy guy was getting worse not better. In 2018, Paul started experiencing gasping spells and had visited the ER several times needing help. Questioning why his health was deteriorating, Paul started searching for answers for his shortness of breath. As luck would have it, he was introduced to a specialty physician familiar with effects of exposure to Burn Pits and his etiology was understood. It was not psychogenic symptoms mixed with exercise-induced asthma as he was erroneously diagnosed, but it was respiratory symptoms of shortness of breath and anxiety due to Burn Pits exposure. By now, in 2021 Paul is experiencing shortness of breath with tachycardia and decreased tolerance for activities such as climbing stairs. In the winter he suffers from bronchial irritation, generalized burning in the respiratory tracts, pallor, and constant fatigue necessitating naps. Although he can ventilate, he feels like he can never get a refreshing feeling of a deep breath, which can lead to mood swings on bad days with frustration and anger. Paul sought out other veterans who were experiencing similar symptoms and found out that they all were exposed to the Burn Pit elements. He now interviews them to help share their stories.

It is estimated that 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to Burn Pits toxic fumes and likely carcinogens during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The most important issue is that the hundreds of thousands who already filed requests for help from the Veterans Administration (VA) and 80% of claims have been denied. The reason: The VA states that it needs more time to understand the exact science. Just because one serves in the armed forces does not always mean that one is entitled to medical VA services, especially if the injuries were not actually combat related. This fact is compounded by the lack of information about the issue of Burn Pits exposure in the medical community due to lack of research. In the past few years, veterans like Paul have taken to social media, legislators, and celebrities like Jon Stewart to help them seek assistance from the government. So far there is little interest and little help.

A Senate Bill S.952 titled Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2021, was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York on March 2021. The House companion bill is H. R. 2372, submitted by California Representative and Emergency Room Doctor Raul Ruiz. It was read and passed to the Committees on Veterans Affairs who held hearings. The bill is requesting that veterans of Burn Pits exposure will be given presumptive benefits, which will cover their medical costs and disability when they become sick so that they can continue to support themselves and their families. Right now, many of them are not getting the help they need, and some have already died.

You can support Paul and other suffering veterans by asking your member of congress to support the aforementioned bill by visiting this link and signing a petition to tell congress to stop ignoring veterans who are sick and dying from toxic burn pits www.warfighter2021.com Let’s help our veterans so that their story does not resemble the Agent Orange reality of our Vietnam veterans, which took 16 years to pass, way too late for many of them.

If you do only one thing this Independence Day, let it be signing of the petition to help a veteran. After all, we are the land of the free because of the brave. It is now time for us to help them."

To learn more: https://burnpits360.org and the Sick From Serving page on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sick+from+serving

Visit Nursing One at https://www.nursingone.org/


Happy July 4th!


Donna 



Sunday, June 27, 2021

Nursing student Elizabeth Ovalle survives Covid and graduates!

 


Calhoun Community College reported the following story.

"Close to the end of March, while most students were on spring break, Ovalle noticed she was having a difficult time breathing. When the symptoms persisted making it even more difficult to take in and release breaths, she went to the Athens-Limestone Hospital where she was immediately admitted. After a few tests were run, Ovalle received the news that she tested positive for COVID-19. Due to her breathing, she was placed on a ventilator." 

"After being on a ventilator for two weeks, she was informed that her breathing had improved enough that she could be taken off and breathe on her own. Once she was stable, she recalls a very sweet patient care aid who came to speak with her. Amid the conversation, the aid uttered words that tore Elizabeth’s heart to pieces, “Your mother has also tested positive for COVID-19, she is extremely sick, a few rooms down from you and is on a ventilator.”

"Struggling to gather her thoughts and emotions, Elizabeth felt helpless as there was nothing she could do for her mother since she too was in the hospital with COVID. She began thinking about nursing school and all of the required clinical hours, exams and coursework that must be completed to graduate successfully from the program and became discouraged." 

“The time I had alone, my mind wandered to the encouraging and motivating words my mom always said to me and that was to never give up, and if I could physically do something, then what was stopping me,” said Ovalle. She recalls that being her strength to fight. She contacted Calhoun’s nursing department to explain what was going on. She was greeted with warm comments, encouragement and messages to focus on getting better and to try again next semester. That is when she informed her instructors that she wasn’t calling to say she was sitting out, she was calling to find out how she could access her courses online and keep going. “When we heard the news about Elizabeth, we were all heartbroken as she is one of those students who is determined and doesn’t let anything get in her way,” commented Dr. Lynn Hogan, Calhoun Nursing Department Chair."

“When she requested her coursework and exams, we were floored as not only did she pass them, but she passed them with high scores despite everything she was going through physically and mentally,” added Hogan. With nothing but time on her hands in the hospital, she used that time to study." 

Read more about this nurse/survivor at:

https://calhoun.edu/two-time-covid-survivor-to-graduate-from-calhouns-nursing-program/

Cheers!

Donna

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The United Nations Volunteers programme is recruiting nurses with disabilities


     "The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is pleased to announce the recruitment of persons with disabilities for UN Volunteer assignments funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). UNV will be deploying 50 candidates with disabilities as national UN Volunteer specialists in 37 countries across the world."

"As part of UNV’s disability inclusion strategy, this initiative aims to build a talent pipeline of qualified professionals with disabilities who can contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national and global levels, with a focus on national capacity. The initiative also supports UN partners to expand diversity and inclusion of persons with disabilities in their workforce worldwide."

For more information visit: 

Recruiting persons with disabilities to serve as UN Volunteers | UNV

Cheers!

Donna


Sunday, June 6, 2021

D/Deaf healthcare workers in the UK faced discrimination during Covid pandemic

 


On May 26, 2021, BMJ published the following article, Covid-19: D/Deaf healthcare workers faced  “widespread, systemic discrimination" during pandemic, study finds. (1)

The situation left one GP partner, who is profoundly deaf, “demoralised and depressed” and on the brink of quitting the profession. It was not helped by delays in the UK’s acquisition of clear face masks, which then failed infection control tests.

 The term “D/deaf” includes people who are “Deaf,” which typically refers to those who use British Sign Language as their first language, and people who are “deaf”—those who have hearing impairment but use spoken English and lipreading. People in either group may wear cochlear implants or hearing aids to help them hear environmental sounds and speech.

 A research team from three NHS trusts in England surveyed D/deaf healthcare professionals in the UK to determine their communication challenges during the pandemic and to highlight areas where more support was needed. There are no accurate data on the number of D/deaf healthcare workers, but the researchers estimated this as “potentially several thousand” on the basis of the 2.8 million employed UK adults of working age who have hearing loss, 6% of whom work in healthcare.

The survey was distributed to the 194 members of the UK Deaf Healthcare Professionals group on Facebook and the 145 members of the UK Healthcare Professionals with Hearing Loss email group, and it was promoted on social media. The researchers received 83 responses and reported their findings in Occupational Medicine.(1)

Transparent masks were not prioritised

Most respondents (78%) believed that their communication needs had not been considered during the pandemic, and some reported having been moved away from patient facing clinical roles as a direct result of communication difficulties caused by a lack of reasonable adjustments, such as clear masks.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents worked in the NHS, over two thirds (68%) had severe or profound hearing loss, and 57% wore hearing aids. Most (87%) said that they relied on lipreading, and 21% used sign language and had interpreter support.

Nearly all respondents (77; 93%) had been working in patient facing clinical roles before the pandemic. However, after the pandemic began, 26 (31%) worked at least partly from home, and 14 (18%) were removed from patient facing roles owing to communication difficulties. These included three doctors and five nurses. Some staff were redeployed to administrative duties, but not all were given alternative work.

The researchers said that while efforts were made during the pandemic to produce other required protective gear, the need for healthcare standard transparent masks was not prioritised. This was despite 89% of respondents reporting that opaque masks made it harder or impossible to communicate with patients and colleagues.

Six months after the pandemic began the UK did finally order ClearMask face masks, but they were not deemed suitable by infection control teams for use in clinical areas or where FFP3 masks were required.

The researchers also found that just 19 D/deaf healthcare workers were offered an occupational health assessment to discuss reasonable adjustments during the pandemic. Only 33 (39%) were given the equipment or the reasonable adjustments they needed, and in some cases the recommended adjustments were not implemented because of objections from infection control teams.

Demoralising and depressing

Rosie Knowles, a GP partner in Sheffield who is profoundly deaf and lipreads, told The BMJ, “When all the masking and social distancing and the move to all remote consulting came in with the pandemic, my job became almost impossible.” She said that a lack of support from the clinical commissioning group (CCG) and bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners was “extremely demoralising and depressing” and that she had been “close to leaving medical work altogether.”

“I’ve never felt so unheard and so uncared for by the NHS. I was just left to find my own solutions,” she added. Unable to lipread over video calls with poor internet connection and with none of the approved video platforms providing automated captions, she switched to doing most of the practice’s text and email consultations.

After a suggestion from a social media group for deaf healthcare workers, Knowles applied for funding from the employment support programme Access to Work for a live captioner. This took five months to obtain. She also struggled to access the ClearMasks for face-to-face consultations, as the local CCG took months to understand that it was the patients who wore them, not the D/deaf doctor.

“Patients can wear makeshift masks so a ClearMask is no different, but [the CCG] kept insisting that, as personal protective equipment, it had not been clinically cleared,” Knowles explained. Eventually she managed to get the message across, but again it took five months. In the meantime, she had to meet patients outdoors without masks and then bring them inside for examinations.

“My team were always supportive, but the strain on us all was tough: the pandemic plus dealing with the lack of help and support from anyone else,” she told The BMJ. “To be suddenly catapulted from a highly competent and respected healthcare professional into a burden or a nuisance to my colleagues—or to shop staff, to anyone who tried to talk to me—was a major challenge to my mental health.”

Inquiry

The researchers said that any inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic must tackle the discrimination faced by D/deaf healthcare staff.

“Government and NHS policy must be more than platitude; it needs to be translated into action and funding for required reasonable adjustments, together with a culture shift among employers and staff to tackle discrimination, and recognise disabled staff as an asset, and not a burden,” said their paper.

The researchers noted some limitations to their study, including the small number of respondents and the fact that they will have missed staff who do not use social media, which likely attracted a younger demographic.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

Mahase E. Covid-19: D/deaf healthcare workers faced “widespread, systemic discrimination” during pandemic, study finds BMJ 2021; 373 :n1365 doi:10.1136/bmj.n1365


Cheers,

Donna

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and a wheelchair didn't stop Ryann Kress, BS, RN......she got the job!

 


WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia aired this story about Ryann Kress.

“Two years of ‘no.’ Two years of nobody wanted to take a chance on me, being seen as a liability, or just being instantly Googled, they would find my name, see my wheelchair and say absolutely not,” said Kress.

At 16, Ryann was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It’s a progressive condition that makes Ryann’s collagen stretchy.

“About two and a half years ago, I began using a wheelchair full time, because my hips knees and ankles are very unstable.”

That’s when Ryann stepped away from her career as a nurse to work in hospital case management. It’s a job she loved, but wasn’t fulfilled by.

More than ten nursing positions turned her away. She was ready to call it quits.

“Then I said one last ditch effort, I saw the ad for mother baby position, and said let me just try,” said Kress.

https://www.wdbj7.com/2021/04/27/roanoke-woman-gets-nurse-position-after-receiving-several-rejections/?fbclid=IwAR1zQiYqvxwbJcNVG6p6d42DDbp5aFubzHql8oVANjktOs398D_znnSx2Ec

You can follow Ryann@chronically_ry on Instagram.


Cheers!

Donna

Thursday, April 29, 2021

A nurse practitioner's faithful journey: From injury and suffering to becoming an ordained UCC minister

 

                                                                        The Rev. Cleo Graham, RN, MS, FNP

Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School shared an alumni profile:

 "Cleo Graham attended Adelphi University, where she met her husband and began to pursue her career in nursing. She held many different roles in her thirty-year career as a nurse, variously working as a critical care nurse, as director of home care for the VA Hospital, and as an employee health supervisor with over nine hundred employees. She taught for a time, attained a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, and organized community health programs with churches. She also identified that many veterans living at home were suffering from what she identifies as a “broken relationship with God” and that they needed spiritual care in addition to mental and physical health care. Working with chaplains, she developed one of the nation’s first medical codes for spiritual distress, billable services by which chaplains could provide spiritual health care to patients in need." 

"Then, she experienced a catastrophic injury of her spinal disks, caused by a fall while helping a patient. Bedridden for about a year, she would imagine talking to God about her suffering and wrote notes to document this conversation. The result was the book From Mess to Message."

"She began an aggressive regimen of physical therapy and eventually transitioned to walking with a cane. One day, her husband surprised her by driving her to Andover Newton Theological School because he knew that she had always wanted to be a pastor. He brought her to the chapel and she walked inside…"

 "Now this chapel was built in such a way that it’s all windows completely around, so you can look in and see. I was the only one in this chapel, and this huge Bible was open. It was open to Ecclesiastes 3: There’s a time and season for everything. A time to be born, and a time to die. The tears just rolled down my face. I felt like I was going to get the pages wet. I stepped back and sat down and thought about it, and I said, “Well, maybe I can do it.” 

"After graduating from Andover Newton Rev. Cleo Graham served as an associate pastor at several churches in Rhode Island before accepting the call to serve as the pastor of Hartford’s Faith Congregational Church in November 2020." 

Read more about the Reverend Cleo Graham at:

https://andovernewton.yale.edu/alumniae/alumniae-profiles/reverend-cleo-graham-fnp-mdiv-12?fbclid=IwAR3VLRAc_zOCBj9pHmi-7QnaJ3DUqN6aY2DvC1lACOvijNKMtYJBfuRsE00


Cheers!


Donna

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dr. Carolyn Burr, Nurse practitioner pioneer in stopping mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS

 

"Dr. Carolyn Keith Burr, a pediatric nurse practitioner and educator who helped save the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world through her work on the prevention of HIV/AIDS in pregnant women and children, died on Friday, October 30, 2020 at Chilton Hospital in New Jersey. She was 71. The cause of death was complications from acute pancreatitis."


"While an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University Nursing School, Dr. Burr first became active in bringing health care to those in need. Joining a coalition of health professionals, she helped bring clinics to remote areas in the Tennessee mountains where health care was scant."

"After obtaining a Masters Degree in Nursing from University of Rochester, she and her first husband, Richard Burr, moved to New Jersey in 1987. She took a job at Newark Children's Hospital in a special clinic devoted to treating mothers and their babies for an unknown disease, which later was identified as HIV/AIDS. For the next 27 years, her career was devoted to stopping mother-to-child transmission of the virus. Along the way, she acquired a Doctoral degree in Adult Education from Teachers College at Columbia University."

"Over the years, as treatments became available and the death rate in maternal transmission dropped to near zero, Dr. Burr rose to Associate Director of the Fran├žois-Xavier Bagnoud Center at Rutgers University and traveled around the world teaching medical professionals the life-saving treatments she had helped pioneer. She was greatly admired and honored with numerous awards."

"In 1998, Carolyn was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She continued her career and travels until she became confined to a wheelchair, retiring in 2014." 

Read more about Carolyn Burr here.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/northjersey/obituary.aspx?n=carolyn-burr&pid=197076708

I taught with Carolyn for a few years in the 1980s.

We lost a good one!

RIP,

Donna


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Meet Victoria Cliff: A nursing student with autism and mental health challenges

 

                                                                                 Victoria Cliff, Student Children's Nurse

Victoria shared her journey in an article published by the Children and Young People Student Network in the UK.

"I have Autism, and this will be with me for life. I have always had it and I always will have it. My brain works differently to others, I communicate differently, I process things differently - but these also become my strengths."

"Autism probably seems like enough to put some barriers in place to me getting where I want. But I have also battled with mental illness for as long as I can remember, and I have had days where tomorrow looked like it would never come. It caused me to drop out of my A levels because I got too unwell, and then when I started a different course a few months later, I only managed 5 days. At this point, I truly felt I would never be able to reach my goals. I felt like my education ended at GCSE’s because I just couldn’t get any further without losing myself to mental illness."

"These built barriers and walls in my way to success. I had no idea how I would get to where I wanted to be, I almost just accepted a lower quality of life than what I deserved. But I fought. I battled to be where I am."

"Then, I got my offer to study children’s nursing. I felt over the moon. I was there, I was going to get my goal after all. Starting university is difficult for anyone, then add into the mix my life and it was complicated. I almost gave up several times that first month. I wasn’t good enough; I could never do it. But the support from my lecturers and the university made a difference, proved that I could do it. Placement proved to me even more that I could do it, making a difference to families every day and I loved the feeling of helping people."

Read more about Victoria here:

https://cypstnnetwork.wixsite.com/cypstudentnetwork/post/disabled-nursing-student-from-diagnosis-to-university

Cheers!

Donna

Monday, March 22, 2021

Jordann Nagel, BSN, RN beat test anxiety through perseverance!!!

                                                                                         Jordann Nagel, BSN, RN
 

*"Hi, I'm Jordann and I'm gonna be your nurse today."  

I was set to graduate nursing school in May of 2019 but failed a class in the last semester of my program, and had to retake it over the next summer. I took the NCLEX for the first time in October of 2019 and was devastated when I failed the first time and again when I failed in December.

I took my third attempt at the NCLEX in May of 2020 after completing the Hurst review and again, was unsuccessful. The next month I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks and took a break from studying to grieve. I scheduled my next attempt for January 6th of 2021 and failed for the 4th time.

I've battled testing anxiety since the very beginning of my nursing journey and have struggled with answering the NCLEX style questions. I graduated from a 4 year school with a bachelor's degree and have done so many content reviews it's insane.. I know the material and am great in a clinical setting, but you put me in front of a computer for 4 hours and I blank.

I've been very open about my NCLEX journey on tiktok, and I had so many people reach out to me and tell me to listen to the Mark Klimek audios on YouTube. So I listened to all of his audios and took my own notes, slept with them under my pillow, and gave myself the pep talk of my life in the mirror before taking my 5th attempt at the NCLEX this past Thursday.

With tears in my eyes and a fire in my soul I am proudly screaming at the top of my lungs.. JORDANN NAGEL, BSN RN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am here to tell you to never give up on your dreams! Push yourself and keep going until you get there! I freaking did it!!!!!! School is extremely difficult and the NCLEX is terrifying but none of that matters anymore since receiving my licensure number. I am a NURSE and you will be too!

After all, the only time you really fail is if you give up. PERSEVERANCE IS KEY!

Jordann's Tiktok and Instagram are @Jordannnagel.


*This was originally posted to a Facebook group and reposted here with Joardann Nagel's permission.

Congratulations Jordann!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers!

Donna

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Disabled actor turns to ExceptionalNurse.com for inspiration and guidance developing a character who is a nurse with a disability!


 Recently, I received this email: 

Dear Donna,

My name is Diana Elizabeth Jordan.  I am a Los Angeles based actress who lives with cerebral palsy (which mildly affects my speech and gait). I am reaching out to let you know how invaluable your website was to me recently.

Last Friday, (March 5) I had a guest starring role on Heartbeats (an improvised medical dramedy produced by Jessica Lynn Verdi and Mary Chieffo) which is on Friday's 6 P.M. PST on the Twitch channel). The character I portrayed was Nurse Lollie Blake-Pimperton, Pediatric NP. I was really excited to play a nurse who had a disability and read about other real life  nurses with disabilities. I even got the coloring book.

 I am in awe of what real nurses do and how much you have done especially this past year. Even though the show (which was filmed on Zoom) was improvised and had a lot of comedic elements, it was very important to me especially-since I was a guest star and I am not sure when I will be back, to ground the character in reality. I do hope I represented your profession well.

So I just wanted to thank you. I have included a link to a few of my scenes and also the entire show because the show is really good and the series regulars are awesome.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 Peace and Grace 


Diana Elizabeth Jordan

Actor*Solo Artist* Theater & Filmmaker

SAG-AFTRA/AEA

 Disability Influencer/Artist Educator

www.dianaelizabethjordan.com

Diana Elizabeth Jordan Lollie Scenes

https://vimeo.com/521935887

Heartbeats episode 13

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbU9dwL4Kd8&t=32s

 

 Cheers!

Donna

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Exciting news for nurses who use service dogs. Times and guidelines are changing!

 


People Magazine reports that a "golden retriever has been trained to be a laboratory assistant for his disabled neuroscientist owner — and even wears his own canine PPE."

"Service dog Sampson is required to wear PPE for safety reasons as he helps owner Joey Ramp conduct her crucial lab work every day."

"Joey, 56, suffered traumatic head injuries following a serious horse-riding accident in 2006 and returned to education to gain a better understanding of the human brain."

"Sampson, dressed in goggles and a lab coat, is the first-ever canine to be granted access to a chemistry laboratory at The University of Illinois."

"If I drop something in the lab, he'll come to my side, and I can use him as a brace to kneel down and pick up what I need," said Joey of Champagne, Illinois, who is also a disability advocate. Sampson is also on hand to spot signs and react to Joey's PTSD."

Great news for nurses who use service dogs!

Read more at:

https://people.com/pets/golden-retriever-service-dog-works-as-lab-assistant/?amp=true&fbclid=IwAR2LyI74BuaFRzZbqgAQpD5WkTRRiIkd09iZOSIm92z7f2WfX7JQRDDyT2w


Cheers!

Donna

Monday, February 1, 2021

For nurses with disabilities: How do you inform an employer that accommodation isn't working?

 


According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN):

"There isn’t a specific way that employees are required to handle this type of situation, but here are some things for employees to consider:

You need to inform your employer that the alternative accommodation isn’t effective. Otherwise, the employer has no duty to reopen the accommodation process or to reconsider your original request. You can inform your employer any way you want, but in our experience, it can be useful to do it in writing so you have a record.

Your employer needs to know why the alternative accommodation isn’t overcoming your limitations and enabling you to perform your job or access benefits of employment. This information will help the employer better understand the situation.

You can remind your employer what your original accommodation request was and why you requested it so the employer has all the necessary information easily available. You also can ask that your original accommodation be reconsidered (unless your employer already gave you a valid reason why it cannot be provided). You can explain how the accommodation you requested will be effective and enable you to perform your job or access benefits of employment.

If you think it would help to meet with your employer again, you can suggest that in your letter, and if you think additional medical information would help your employer understand the situation better, you can include that as well."

For more information and a sample letter, visit:

https://askjan.org/articles/How-to-Inform-an-Employer-That-an-Accommodation-is-Not-Effective-and-a-Sample-Letter.cfm

Cheers!

Donna


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Nurse practitioner who stutters helps others from the front lines of Covid-19

 


"StutterTalk® is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to talking openly about stuttering. StutterTalk is the first and longest running podcast on stuttering". 

"Roisin McManus, a Nurse Practitioner (NP) who stutters, joins Chaya Goldstein to provide a first hand perspective from the front lines of COVID-19.

Roisin shares ways we can contain the spread, defines flatten the curve, ways we can support healthcare workers and the general public; including education, mental health support, and dropping off medical supplies at local hospitals in need. And finally, Roisin offers advice on what to do if you get sick. As you can imagine, stuttering is not on Roisin’s mind right now."

"Roisin McManus has been involved in stuttering self-help and advocacy for awhile now. She has volunteered with StutterTalk, the NSA, Friends and was co-founder of the NYC Stutters Conference. She currently serves on the board of directors of Friends: The National Association of Young People who Stutter. Roisin is a nurse practitioner who specializes in ICU and end of life care. She is now working on the front lines of the SARS-Cov2 epidemic (otherwise known as COVID-19) providing ICU care in a New York City hospital."

You can listen to this podcast at: 

https://stuttertalk.com/page/5/


Cheers!


Donna


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Nursing on the spectrum: What nurses with autism want you to know


"My name is Jackie Anne.  I am in my early 30s and am a nurse I may have even been your nurse.  Unknown to you, and many I work side by side with daily, I also have autism."

                                                                                 Jackie Anne Blair, RN

“I have an excellent memory. My hearing is very sensitive in a way that I can hear things that others can’t. I’m often the first to hear alarms. I can differentiate sounds quickly and more easily. My sensitivity to touch helps with palpation during a nurse exam. I can feel if something is different or off. I perseverate about my patient’s issues. If something is off, or I just can’t pinpoint a certain diagnosis or issues, I do everything I can to figure it out."

"I am also hyper-aware of cross-contamination, and am a bit obsessive with handwashing. I don’t judge patient’s based on a diagnosis. As your nurse, I understand that you are so very much more than the list of diseases, disabilities and symptoms in your chart.” https://themighty.com/2020/06/nurse-autism-spectrum/

https://the-art-of-autism.com/how-jackie-anne-blairs-autism-helps-her-be-a-better-nurse/

                                                                                      Anita Lesko, RN, CRNA

Anita Lesko, RN, CRNA is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist specializing in anesthesia for neurosurgery, organ transplants and orthopedic joint replacement. She states: "My gift of Asperger disorder gives me the ability to have what I call my ‘laser focus.’ It’s the ability to stay focused on a project for extreme periods of time with total focus and concentration".

In 2018, Anita advocated for autism acceptance to the United Nations. She has also published books and spoken at conferences with Temple Grandin.

https://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com/2016/07/nurse-with-aspergers-syndrome-is.

htmlhttps://themighty.com/2018/01/the-good-autistic-anesthetist/?utm_source=engagement_bar&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=facebook_share

Advocating Autism Acceptance to the United Nations, with Anita Lesko | EDB 123 (differentbrains.org)


Brandon is an RN with a masters degree, soon to be a Nurse practitioner in Texas. On his "Thriving with ASD" channel, he shares his journey to diagnosis and his coping skills for living with autism.


                                           Registered Nurse With Autism Spectrum Disorder - YouTube

                                           How I got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder - YouTube

Sherri Schultz, pen name Pensive Aspie is "an Aspie, a wife, a mom, an aunt, a nurse, a Christian, a supporter of equality, a bibliophile, and a fan but not a fanatic of most things sci-fi and logical. My passion is Asperger's and helping others on the spectrum. I run a small online support group for individuals with ASD. I have found that the more knowledge I share, the more I receive."
About | Pensive Aspie (wordpress.com)

Another Aspie Nurse writes:

 "I have emotional intelligence, and am fully capable of empathy, and can socialize with purpose.......I have learned to use words to find out what I cannot discern otherwise. I have learned to recognize most people’s signs of illness, pain, sadness, anger, through decades of being a CNA, and have learned to use humor in small scripted ways to make day to day nursing smoother… Such as “oops! Let me clean my hands before helping you with that…don’t want to give you a gift that keeps on giving!” just small comments here and there that usually will elicit a smile from my patients." https://adventuresofanaspiern.com/

Lee is a nursing student in the UK

He has a number of videos on YouTube including: Asperger's and Nursing: A personal and professional view on being a student nurse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYsBvj-ACC4&t=156s

Anna has Asperger’s syndrome.

She works in the operating room as a nurse anesthetist.


Color a nurse with Asperger's in the, "I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional!" coloring book. I am a nurse: Color me Exceptional!: Maheady APRN, Donna Carol, Nuenke, Sue, Gili, Tom: 9781075196065: Amazon.com: Books

Cheers!

Donna