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Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance

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

"Look at other similarly situated nurses. How do they do it? Talk to other nurse leaders, Maheady says. "It's being done… in reality I think accommodations are being made quietly and without fanfare."

OK, I counter, but what if a nurse leader simply doesn't want to have to do something like assign a buddy to a nurse in a wheelchair? What if he or she doesn't want to have to make accommodations for the nurses that they hire? Why should they do it?

"You should do it because it would be good for your patients," Maheady says, pointing to Haugh's work at Shriners as an example. Here's someone who's been on both sides of nursing care. Who understands what patients want in a nurse. Who has had to work to combat discrimination and physical limitations and still has the guts and know-how that nursing calls for.

"I think that Marianne's employment there is sending a powerful message to patients in bed," Maheady says. "There's hope. I can have a career, I can have a life. I think an organization that employs a Marianne sends a powerful supportive message."


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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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.