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What kind of work can a disabled nurse do?

Q: Dear Donna,

I’ve been a maternity RN for 15 years. I had a spinal injury, which causes 24-hour constant pain. I’m really confused about what kind of nursing position I can do with my disability. I’m an energetic, hands-on nurse. Thanks!

Q: Dear Nurse with pain issues,

The great thing about this profession is that there is something for everyone, and you probably have more options than you realize.

For starters, at companies that do remote monitoring of ICU patients, you sit at a computer most of the time. Most of them welcome nurses with disabilities because it is your nursing knowledge, experience and assessment skills they are interested in. Do an Internet search for “eICU” companies and apply directly to them, or make connections on LinkedIn. The article, “The eICU’s eye never blinks,” explains all about eICUs.

Many insurance companies also have opportunities for nurses that are either home-based or located in their offices. These include telephone triage, telephone advice, disease management, case management and many others. Again, it is your nursing knowledge and experience that is valuable here. Some of these companies even have special recruiters for prospective employees with disabilities of all types and have a special phone number to call if you have a disability and are seeking employment.

The same holds true for the pharmaceutical industry, where nurses work as drug information specialists and other telephone/computer-centric positions. Contact some pharmaceutical companies and ask to speak to the nurse recruiter or healthcare recruiter in the human resources department.

Don’t mention your disability up front unless you are calling an “employee with disabilities” line at a prospective place of employment. Focus on your great nursing experience, knowledge and skill set. Make the disability a footnote rather than a headline. Convey energy, enthusiasm and passion for your work. That will get you further than you can imagine. Read “Can this career be saved?” about working with a disability.

Best wishes,


By | 2020-04-15T16:02:03-04:00 April 29th, 2015|Categories: Blogs, National, Nursing careers and jobs|4 Comments

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.


  1. Avatar
    Jacqueline Hobbs September 7, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Hi Donna:
    I have been out of the workforce for 17 yrs as a home health / mental health nurse. I am thinking about reinstatement of my RN license in the state of Georgia but the cost is way beyond my disability income of $699 a month? Is there any organization that employ nurses with a BSN degree but is not currently licensed. I am also recently divorced after 44 years of marriage.i thank & bless you for your assistance.
    Jacqueline Hobbs

  2. Avatar
    janetta l valderas July 14, 2019 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Dear Donna,
    My name is Jan. I have so much knowledge and experience in a vast number of nursing specialties. I have not worked since 2015.
    I have cervical myelopathy, which leaves my legs weak and balance a challenge. I was misdiagnosed w MS for several years, and until I found the right neurologist, it was too late. My spinal cord not has permanent damage. 2 level fusion done in 2015, too late.
    Ok, I have a lot to offer the right employer, My experience has been in the operating room mostly, all aspects of Periop. I also was a psychiatric RN for 7 years.
    I would love to work from home for a triage, health insurance, counseling, diabetes education, pre operative testing, working collaboratively with anesthesia, surgeons, and of course, patients and their families.
    I feel very strongly about my passions to work in the health care arena, and miss it terribly. Forgot to add, very educated in cardiovascular post operative care, and blood thinners.
    I n want and NEED to share with other health care professionals, and moreover PEOPLE. My love of my life,my granddaughter, is a T1D. She is in nursing school.
    Any advice, guidance, from you would be GREATLY appreciated.
    Best regards,
    Jan Valderas

  3. Avatar
    Sara Wilson September 11, 2019 at 3:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this informative post!! This is a great article, and something I think needs to be communicated more often. I am living in Ohio and here Sunshine Community is providing jobs for people with disabilities. Hope this information will help. Thanks!!

  4. Avatar
    Irene Mosim September 29, 2019 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Dear Donna
    My name is Irene 54yrs old nurse worked as a neonatal nurse for 2yrs suffered stroke in 2017 Nov till this time I haven’t been practicing since but feel stronger now that I can go back to work but finding difficult to get work as I was working as an agency can you advice me what to do

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