Nurses with Disabilities – A Career Close to the Heart

One of the most endearing qualities of a nurse is their sense of empathy for the human condition that warrants being seen by a medical professional. Nurses are the ones who deal with patients day in and day out and the care they give is not simply diagnostic but usually personal. That’s why those nurses with disabilities of their own tend to be even more compassionate and therefore effective than those who have never had a personal experience with serious illnesses.

A Shining Example to Disabled Patients

When studying for that online nursing degree like you can find on ASU Online, few nurses ever stop to think what would happen to them if they suddenly developed some type of disability. Some nurses lose all or part of their hearing while others lose range of motion in one or more limbs. Others develop some sort of illness that classifies them, by legal definition, as disabled but they continue working through everything from physical therapy to chemotherapy and everything in between.

A Whole New Outlook on Life

Some nurses who have taken the time out of life to further their career with an online nursing degree at a graduate level know firsthand what it means to need medical care. Some have been disabled from birth and others were either injured or contracted some illness that led to a disability. One good example as cited above is hearing loss that often results from an ear infection that didn’t heal as it should. It’s easy to study in an online nursing program because everything you do is right there in black and white in front of you (in colour these days!) on the monitor you are studying from for your online nursing degree.

An Example for Those in Similar Circumstances

However, when dealing with patients that suffer hearing loss you can be an example of how to function in a world of sound. When you encounter other patients who are learning to live with disabilities it is somehow easier to empathize with their level of pain and confusion while appreciating the new lease on life you have been given. Patients need hope and as a disabled nurse, you are their hope – a real live example right before their very eyes.

In the past many nurses shied away from working in the profession because of a number of reasons, the biggest one being a fear they would not be able to complete their tasks. According to the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, nurses with disabilities can ‘connect with patients’ in a way that is much more powerful because of the fact that they are disabled. Instead of hiding their heads in the sand this group of nurses is taking their commitment to a whole new level. Whether communicating in sign language or sharing a time of mourning for what could have been in that patient’s life, a disabled nurse is a new face of hope in a world of despair.


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