We all know that looking after our health is essential and doing all we can to stay physically fit is wise. Many people take this interest in health one step further and make it their career. Although there are many important roles in professional healthcare, nursing is one that stands out. It is a rewarding career path to take if you like to help people and have a caring nature.
But is nursing open to you as a career if you have a disability? Many disabled people worry about this and assume that moving into nursing is off-limits. That is not true; you can have a disability and work in nursing. But what is there to help?
Access to online education helps
Previously, people who wished to work in nursing had to physically attend a college or university to gain the necessary qualifications. For those with disabilities, that might not always have been easy or feasible. For example, educational institutions might not have installed ramps into buildings on campus, or there might not have been specific facilities for disabled people.
Luckily things have changed in education recently to help resolve this issue. As well as schools, colleges, and universities working hard to improve on-campus access, online learning is a massive step forward. This is because the latest online courses enable you to complete the training you need to work in nursing from home. It is not just for basic nursing qualifications either.
The TWU online FNP program, for example, is designed to teach already qualified nurses the skills required to move into a more senior Family Nurse Practitioner position. With a 90% FNP licensure first-time pass rate in 2021 and help to find suitable clinical placements for students close to home, it is an excellent illustration of how online learning can help disabled students gain the accreditation they need.
Better accessibility in healthcare settings
Just as modern times have taught us more about how to sleep better or treat specific illnesses, we have also recently seen more awareness of the need for disabled access. Most hospitals and clinics now have a range of measures to help disabled people enter buildings easily and move around them effectively.
Many have made sure disabled people can use the provided facilities and have set up dedicated disabled facilities where they were lacking. That is excellent news not just for disabled patients but also for disabled staff.
The net result is that people with disabilities can now work more effectively as nurses due to the access provisions and facilities provided by hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Examples are dedicated toilets, desks specially set up for disabled nurses, ramps to help them get into and out of buildings, and lifts to help them get around healthcare environments.
Alongside online learning in healthcare, telehealth is an innovation that has risen fast in recent years. It refers to medical professionals using the latest technology to deliver healthcare services remotely. The most obvious example is a nurse being able to speak with patients online (via a tablet or smartphone and using video calling tech) to resolve their issues.
Telehealth is here to stay because it is convenient for patients and enables them to access healthcare easily – even if they live somewhere that makes physically getting to a clinic or hospital tricky. This branch of healthcare is also very useful for helping disabled people work in nursing. It allows nurses to treat patients from home and in an environment set up for their condition, meaning there is nothing to stop them from working in the nursing profession.
Different roles for nurses
One of the major attractions for people who choose a nursing career, in general, is the variety of roles within the industry. It is also why having a disability does not stop you from working in nursing. In short, the wide selection of roles means disabled nurses can easily find a job that suits them and can carry out effectively.
But what roles within nursing make it more accessible for disabled people than ever before? If your disability means a front-line role is not ideal, you could move into being a Nurse Researcher.
The job involves identifying and solving research questions to help improve patient care. This interesting role involves running clinical trials to improve patient outcomes and working with other healthcare professionals to achieve satisfactory results. Alternatively, you could move into a Nurse Health Coach role where you would advise patients on holistic approaches to staying healthier and improving their fitness.
For those who wish to be more front-line and whose disability makes this possible, starting as a Registered Nurse, providing general care for patients in a healthcare setting is ideal. If you prefer to focus on mental health, taking up the position of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse could be for you. As the name suggests, this involves assessing and treating patients with mental health disorders.
The main thing to note is that this is not an exhaustive list of roles disabled nurses could take up. It simply gives a flavor of the many ways to get into nursing and the type of posts disabled nurses can fill.
Disabilities are no barrier to becoming a nurse
Disability certainly does not prevent you from carving out a career in nursing. More inclusivity for disabled people in the workplace and innovations like online learning have all helped to make this happen. When you factor in the accessibility provisions, the facilities healthcare settings provide for disabled people, and the wide range of roles to choose from depending on your disability, it is clear how open this career path is in the modern age.