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Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance

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

Nearly a decade after that experience, Haugh now has a string of letters after her name—RN, BSN, MSN, CRRN—and three jobs, working as a staff nurse at Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, and as a clinical instructor for Harper College and the University of St. Francis. She also won a DAISY Award last week, which recognizes exceptional nurses. Haugh was nominated by patients, Kathy Antos MSN,RN,CPN, a staff education/clinical analyst at Shriners Hospitals for Children, told me. This is what one of the patients' parents wrote:

"Marianne has continued to be an exceptional nurse. She is always on point with patient's needs, very professional, and has never once allowed the fact that she is in a wheelchair herself prevent her from carrying out whatever task needed to be done. I trust my son in her care hands down and have no doubt others feel the same."

Haugh has proved that she's a competent nurse, but it took a long time for anyone to give her a shot. Prospective colleges told her that if she attended, they'd give her free counseling to help her change her major from nursing. The supervisor on Haugh's first clinical rotation in nursing school flat-out said she wasn't allowed to come. Haugh's instructor went to bat for her, and the supervisor relented, but not without first assigning a nurse just to watch Haugh.

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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.