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'Will my disability affect my ability to become a nurse?'


Can you advise this potential student nurse?

”I am a graduate, middle aged and considering returning to education to train to be a nurse.

“I’ve been invited to interview for an accelerated graduate course, but before I leave a stable job (and possibly endure the financial hardships of nurse training!) I would appreciate feedback from existing nurses or trainee nurses on the physicality of the job and personal opinions on nursing as a career choice for someone like me.

”I have a work related upper limb disorder, not visible, but it does affect me occasionally. I have some discomfort (not pain) but it is mostly manageable  in a non-physical profession.

”I have foraminal stenosis at the cervical vertebrae, lifting heavy objects (particularly over my shoulders/head) can be challenging sometimes and can induce a nerve inflammation flare up that last for six to eight weeks and results in considerable pain. My last significant flare up was three years ago.

”I have consulted a doctor, but would be interested in hearing what nurses have to say.”

- Anonymous

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Readers' comments (5)

  • Ask for a full occupational health report- bearing in mind if you get severe pain- you could hurt a patient but also yourself. Why not look at what attracts you to Nursing, what can work in other fields and move on from there?

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  • Why are there so few comments on this forum? Surely experienced nurses would like to think that when they were training- they had some mentors who gave advice so why are they not prepared to help now they have their PIN ?

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  • Talk to the people who run the nursing course that you are interested in and get their opinion. Nursing has changed a lot over the last 10-15 years and there is no longer a need to do manual lifting and moving, this should mean that you are not required to lift heavy objects (or patients any more) at work. One qualified there would be many options that you could follow that do not involve heavy work - Occupational Health, School nursing, As long as you're realistic with the people that you would be working with, I don't see why your disability should exclude you from the nursing workforce. I don't know, but I would guess that there are many great nurses with physical disabilities. Good luck.

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  • I have rheumatoid with careful planning it can be done'in am 58 work on a really busy ward

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  • I am 41, and in my final year of nurse training. I have a history of degenerative disc disease in the lower lumber region, on top of this i also suffer from fibromyalgia. Some days have been very difficult, I find after 3 long days I need at least a day just resting at home. However, I have worked with occupational health and at the start of uni I had to see them to get the ok to start on the nursing program. I take strong pain killers to get though the day this has been a long term issue and I have not got worse since starting the course.
    My advice would be, of you apply be straight about your health conditions and when you go to see occupational health they will do a report on your suitability for the role. It is in their interest as well as yours to make sure you are sutible.
    My last piece of advice is, if you want something bad enough fight for it. Most trusts are very accomadating and work with you to make your job as safe as possible for you and their patients.

    I wish you all the best, and hope things go as planned.

    Take care

    3rd year student nurse (adult)

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