What field could a nurse work in that won’t aggravate previous injuries?

By | 2020-06-22T11:09:19-04:00 August 13th, 2015|0 Comments

Dear Donna,

I am beginning an RN refresher course to reactivate my license after 10 years of being on disability with neck and shoulder injuries. My disability company may stop my payments, and I may need to return to work. I have an associate’s degree. Can you suggest a field that would not aggravate my neck and shoulder? Spending a lot of time on the phone is painful, as was my last job in a pediatric office. I have thought about hospice, and maybe home health.

May Need To Return To Work

Dear May Need To Return To Work,

Direct patient care positions in hospice and home care can involve some physicality, so that is probably not your best option. There are office positions for nurses in home care, such as intake nurse, but those do involve phone work as do most insurance nurse positions. However, many office nurses use headsets to speak on the phone, which does not require neck manipulation/strain. You can request a headset from your employer in any position where phone work is involved.
I would also suggest that you look into doing chart reviews for your state’s quality improvement organization. Scroll to the bottom of the web page to “QIO Directory” to find your state office and apply directly with them.
Try to get to my upcoming Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar in October. Not only will you learn to identify transferable skills, but you’ll also learn about the latest self-marketing techniques and get contact information for many non-traditional and non-physical positions in nursing. Some nurses have been able to get funding to attend from their state vocational rehab program. Ask your disability counselor about that.
Additionally, get out to nursing career fairs in your area. Many different types of employers and agencies typically exhibit at these events. You never know what or who you’ll encounter. Plus, these events are great places to sharpen your self-marketing and networking skills, and you’ll get an idea of what is out there. In addition, read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” for tips and advice on making the most of your time there.
In any situation, don’t lead with your disability. In fact, that shouldn’t even come up presuming you won’t be applying for physically demanding positions. Focus on your great experience and positive personal and professional traits.

Best wishes,


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, Nurse.com’s career advice columnist is president of DonnaCardillo.com. 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 20 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru. To ask Donna question, email [email protected]


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About the Author:

Barry Bottino
Barry Bottino is a freelance writer and editor who has more than 25 years of experience at various newspapers and magazines.

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