Nursing is a tough profession and nursing school a rigorous path to take with physical, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual challenges! That is why it is so amazing and inspiring to learn about nurses who have overcome major challenges to continue or begin their practice. (Who could empathize more authentically with patients facing illness and injury?)
“The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the Trenches of Truly Resilient Nurses Working with Disabilities” Edited by Donna Maheady, EdD, APRN is a book full of pioneers who demonstrate courage and persistence:
- Susie Cutino Pratt, MSN, MPS, BSN, RN started out life with a spinal disability called sacral agenesis. It didn’t stop her and her career spans over 30 years with a variety of positions including a teacher of LPNs for over 10 years!
- Margot Withrow, RN, BSN, CCRN worked in an ICU unit in a South Carolina hospital throughout Hurricane Hugo with windows popping and ventilators going off and on and the lab flooding….and later gaining her Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and suffering from PTSD.
- Linda J. Keyes, RN, BS was told in high school that she would “…never make it as a Registered Nurse”! But her hearing loss and cochlear implant (not to mention a story with an abusive physician that most of us, disability or not, can related to!) keep her from reaching her goals.
These and many others offer powerful role-modeling and inspiring testimonials for current/future students and practicing nurses. But that’s not all the book has to offer.
It is also a guide full of resources and commentaries that will help nurses or students with physical, emotional, or learning disabilities seek and obtain support. Human resource professionals and nurse leaders in a position to hire nurses with disabilities will also find it useful as a resource and perhaps compelling message about accommodations and helping others achieve their goals! Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Editor of the book, Donna Maheady is truly a champion for the cause and there are many additional resources at the Exceptional Nurse website!
Not only did I enjoy reading it, it was a privilege!