Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance
"I had a special babysitter," Haugh says. "And she never did anything for me." The "babysitter" only lasted for two classes, but "I had to play the game," she says.
Later, despite having good grades and credentials, it took Haugh nine months to land her first job after graduating from nursing school.
"It always seemed I got past the initial HR phone interview, and then I would get stuck at the unit, the nursing interview," Haugh says. There were always different excuses about why she didn't get the job.
"Nursing is so physical; at least that's the perception. And it is physical, but there's so much more to nursing," Haugh says, adding that the only thing she can't do is physically lift patients. "There's lift equipment, there's other things that you can do."
Marianne's experience with discrimination and doubt because of her use of a wheelchair isn't unusual, says Donna C. Maheady, Ed.D., ARNP, Associate Graduate Faculty of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University and founder of the nonprofit nursing disability resource exceptionalnurse.com.
Maheady says many nurse leaders "will hide behind" a rigid view of what nurses are supposed to be able to do without even considering whether reasonable accommodations could allow the nurse to work and keep patients safe.
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