Healers on Wheels: Nurses in Wheelchairs

Anyone with a spinal cord injury has been cared for by a nurse. They don’t just help with transfers and stay on top of cath routines. They also offer advice on staying healthy, education and emotional support.

But did you know that there are nurses who use wheelchairs? In honor of Nurse’s Week, which kicks off this Friday, we’re putting the spotlight on healers on wheels.

Completing a nursing degree after an injury

Christine was paralyzed while she was pursuing her nursing degree. After months of rehabilitation and feeling like she couldn’t return to school, she was encouraged by her peers to finish her degree. With their support, along with school administrators and professors, accommodations were made so she could complete her education.

While she faced criticism and discrimination from patients and their relatives who questioned her ability to provide good care, she also found that she was able to relate to her patients because of her disability. Read more of her story and learn about another nurse who uses a wheelchair here.

Pursuing her passion all the way across the country

Latisha Anderson drove across the country to get her nursing degree and has been bringing down barriers ever since. Her road to pursuing her dream hasn’t been easy, but the adversity has only made her stronger. When Central Prison in Raleigh, NC turned her away, she sent a series of emails to the governor that prompted prison officials to change their tune.

Anyone who stands in her way should be warned — Latisha is unstoppable: “disabled people do have a place in this world and I will keep running my mouth.” Learn more about her here.

Resources for people with disabilities interested in nursing

Having a disability gives you a distinct advantage. You can empathize with your patients in a way that a nurse without a disability may not be able to. While there may be some limitations — depending on your level of injury, you may not be able to transfer patients or perform duties that require full hand mobility — the knowledge that nurses have can be used numerous ways. There are opportunities for nurses in education, patient advocacy, and more.

If nursing is your passion, there is a job out there that will allow you to thrive. So where do you start? Minority Nurse put together this list of to-do’s for people with disabilities who are considering a career in nursing.

Are you or someone you know on an unlikely career path, despite a disability? We’d love to hear your story! Tell us about it in the comments.

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