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What are the options for a nurse who has a disability but wants to continue to help patients?

Dear Donna,

I work as a staff nurse in New Jersey. I was recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis. I am also in the process of applying for disability benefits. My main concern is my health. I don’t think I can continue with bedside nursing. I have a passion for helping patients with their physical needs, holistically approaching the patient. I don’t know where to go next. I have completed my BSN, but I’m just looking for a path that I can embark on next.

Can’t Continue Bedside Nursing

Dear Can’t Continue Bedside Nursing,

I suggest that you connect with the American Holistic Nurses Association at the national level and in your local area. Holistic nursing is a rapidly growing and relevant specialty in nursing. There are many different directions to go in within the specialty. Some holistic nurses are self-employed and others are employed. Some examples of the things they do include wellness coach, health educator, stress management consultant, energy healer (Reiki, therapeutic touch, etc.), and more.

Try to attend any events AHNA is hosting, including local meetings. You do not need to be a member to attend. You never know where the spark, idea, information or opportunity will come from, but you have to get yourself out there. Follow the AHNA on social media, too, including Facebook, Twitter, etc. Networking is not only a good way to learn more, but it is also a great way to find role models and mentors.

As you meet nurses working in this specialty and/or find them online via social media or internet searches, approach them about conducting an informational interview. This is a type of formalized networking where you target individuals doing the things you’d like to do to learn more about them and their work, and get advice and resources for your own journey. It is also a wonderful way to expand your professional network and sometimes leads to job opportunities. To learn how to do this, read “Get the scoop on informational interviewing.”

Right now you obviously need to focus on getting well and claiming your disability benefits, if appropriate. While you probably won’t be able to work during that period (check with your disability counselor), you can use the time to immerse yourself in related self-study. The AHNA has many wonderful books available, including the classic “Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice.” Sometimes used copies can be found at a discounted price from online book sellers.

Fortunately, nursing offers something for everyone at every level of ability. You have great options within your area of interest.

Best wishes,
Donna

 

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]

By | 2020-04-15T15:59:07-04:00 August 14th, 2015|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, 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 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

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