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I am suffering from mobility issues, weakness and depression. I have 30 years nursing experience and would like to be productive again. What can I do?

Monday January 21, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am an LPN suffering from an illness that results in mobility issues and weakness. Also, I have had bouts of depression and bipolar disorder. I have 30 years experience in nursing — 22 as an LPN. I would like to find a way to be productive again and safely take care of patients. What are my options?

Wants to be Productive Again

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to be Productive Again,

There are many ways and places to make a difference and put your nursing knowledge and skill to good use. Fortunately, there is something for everyone in this profession.

I recommend you contact some social service agencies in your area about work you can do from home, such as providing phone support to clients. Social service agencies are generally disability-friendly and love to have nurses working for them. Contact agencies such as the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or any other that interests you, even a mental health support agency. If they don't have a job available, offer to volunteer. This is a good way to be productive, while you continue to look for paid employment. Volunteer positions often lead to paid positions.

If you are able to get out, you might contact your local public health department and/or some senior citizen centers. They offer flu clinics, health fairs and blood pressure screenings. This is another low-key way to put your knowledge and skills to good use and feel productive.

Try some of the options mentioned and see how that works for you. Sometimes you have to test the waters. Start small, simple and close to home and see what happens.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.