Last Month, Nurse Carolyn shared her story about her struggle with a sudden disability.
In this post, she will answer questions that many people including nurses ask when faced with a disability.
What organizations help amputees return to work?
AMPUTEE COALITION OF AMERICA
The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) in a national non-profit organization that provides support, education, advocacy and a variety of events and programs to people with limb loss and their families. The ACA’s Limb Loss Resource Center is available online, by email or telephone and a place where patients and their families can obtain information specific to their type or level of amputation.
What are some Laws that a Nurse with a Disability should know?
1. THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by then President George H. W. Bush. The ADA is a piece of civil rights legislation modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The primary purpose of the ADA is to prohibit discrimination of people with disabilities in the following areas:
Access to state and local government services
Access to commercial facilities
The ADA requires that employers provide “reasonable accommodation” to qualified employees and applicants with disabilities unless such accommodation would pose undue hardships on the employer.
2. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION (EEOC)
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) was established by Congress in 1965 and is the nation’s premier federal civil rights enforcement agency that oversees employers’ compliance with the ADA. It is the mission of the EEOC to eliminate discrimination from the workplace. The EEOC works to prevent discrimination before it happens through outreach and education of the nation’s employers and employees. EEOC has the authority to investigate discrimination charges and complaints against employers. Their role is to fairly and accurately assess allegations to determine if discrimination has occurred. The EEOC provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies in all aspects of equal employment.
What programs can one enroll in for rehabilitation?
DEPARTMENT OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION (VR)
The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is a program run by each state’s department of labor. VR can assist people with physical, mental or emotional disabilities get and keep a job. Types of services provided by VR include:
1. Initial assessment to identify DVR needs
2. Counseling and information about employment options
3. Referral to other employment-related resources
4. Obtaining adaptive equipment needed to work
5. Job placement
6. Employment training and re-training
7. Financial assistance with obtaining occupational licenses, tools, equipment, and uniforms
8. Transportation services
9. Post-employment services
DVR counselors can assist clients and employers identify modifications that may be needed in employment settings. Vocation Rehabilitation Services contact information can be obtained through individual state’s department of labor. A guide to requesting services from vocational rehabilitation services can be found at: www.ssa.gov/vocationalrehab.
What steps should a nurse with a disability take before returning to work?
1. Physical readiness
Before searching for a job, there are steps that should be taken to help evaluate if a person is ready to work.
Initial steps include:
a. Consultation with a primary care physician to discuss current health and medical status.
b. Consultation with a prosthetist to discuss the physical requirements and essential functions of the desired work role. A prosthetist can facilitate the provision of the appropriate prosthetic components to meet the needed level of activity.
c. If the amputee is receiving physical therapy, a consultation is indicated to assess status and if indicated, teach proper body mechanics.
2. Develop a resume
A resume should be created based on a self-evaluation of work history and areas of interest. It may be helpful to start by making a list of certifications held, such as IV, dialysis, oncology, and other skills such as computers, operation, use of specific equipment or language skills (bilingual, sign language, etc.). This will help to guide areas to consider.
Thinking “outside the box” and casting a wide net of career alternatives and settings can be helpful. Options to consider include:
b. Case Management
d. Telephone services
g. Poison Control hotline
j. Practicing complimentary alternative care (CAM) such as yoga or Reiki.
l. Working for a non-profit organization
3. Further Education
The need for further education should be evaluated. Advanced degrees can often open more doors of opportunity and less physically demanding positions. State vocational rehabilitation programs may be able to fund educational programs.
4. Getting connected with others
It can be helpful to find a mentor, particularly a person with an amputation who is currently working in a healthcare setting. Mentors are found through organizations, social media, and groups on the Internet.
Reading and researching about others with amputations working in health care can help to identify role models.
-Visit The exceptionalnurse.com
5. Review the job
For one to identify specific physical needs for a position, a physical job description for the position is needed. It should be available from the HR department of the employer. Requests can be made via telephone or email. A careful review of the physical job description is needed along with a comparison of the amputee’s abilities and limitations with the job description and requirements.
6. Request a job shadow
Job shadowing a health care worker in the same position is ideal. The benefits include a clear and honest understanding of the duties required for the position. Ideally, shadowing another healthcare worker with a disability would be preferred, but may not be possible. This possibility should be included when requesting to job shadow.
7. Identify specific duties that may require accommodation
A review of the physical job description may identify job-related requirements that will require an accommodation.
a. Time spent standing in one place.
b. Time spent walking.
c. The number of bends, squats and kneels.
d. There may also be environmental factors such as automatic weighted doors, the distance between stations and stairs that need to be considered.
To contact Nurse Carolyn McKinzie for more details:
Facebook: Amputee Nurse Consultant/Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKA
For further information visit: exceptionalnurse.com
If you missed part one & two of Carolyn’s story click here:
Thank you, Nurse Carolyn, from the International Nurse Support Community for sharing your story so honestly, and educating all of us.