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Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, December 10, 2013

Although some nurse leaders cling to the rigid requirements of the profession, others are making accommodations for nurses in wheelchairs, sending a powerful message to patients in the process.

A "walking interview" is one of the questionable—to say the least—tactics that one prospective supervisor used during a nursing job interview with Marianne Haugh.

"I had one walking interview…to see if I could handle their huge unit," Haugh recalls, a note incredulity still present in her voice when she talks about it. Haugh was born with spina bifida, and although she can walk short distances, she relies primarily on a wheelchair to get around.

Determined not to let this interviewer get the better of her, Haugh participated in the "walking interview."

"I'll play your game, I'll walk during this interview," Haugh says. So she walked the entire time. Even though was tired. Even though she knew she'd never want to work for this person anyhow.

She didn't get the job.

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1 comments on "Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance"


Katherine Washburn (12/13/2013 at 8:20 AM)
I started using a quad cane 14 years ago when I was working on a surgical pedi unit. I had given my manager a heads up that my legs were getting weaker due to spastic paraparesis and that this would be needed. Within a few days, 2 administrators came to me and offered me a position as the MDS Coordinator at the hospital skilled unit. I have progressed from the cane to a rolling walker, wheelchair with back brace prior to back surgery and then a different new rolling walker. I have continued to perform all duties that come with the MDS Coordinator position as well as all the patient interviews. Of course most of the patients think I am with the therapy dept until I introduce myself. I will be taking a permanent disability retirement starting 1/1/14 but truly appreciate the opportunity that was offered to me and giving me a chance to continue being a productive and very important staff member at Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital.