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I lost my job after I told my employer I had multiple sclerosis. Can you tell me how I can get some vocational rehabilitation so I can become a legal nurse consultant?

Monday November 26, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist who lost my job after I told my employer I had multiple sclerosis. I would like to know how I can get some vocational rehabilitation so I can become a legal nurse consultant. I was told I cannot get disability compensation because I am working as a home care RN.


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Nell,

Your question raises a lot of additional ones that can only be commented upon here. To begin with, what happened that you lost your job after you disclosed your diagnosis? Were you unable to perform the essential functions of that job? If so, was another job offered to you or could you have kept that position with a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act? It sounds as though you can still work as an RN, since you are now doing home care. You might want to discuss this termination with a nurse attorney or an attorney who works in employment discrimination to determine if anything can be done to challenge the termination.

As to your getting disability compensation, it is assumed you mean Social Security disability. This government program is available to those who have worked at one point, but can no longer do so due to a disability. As you probably know, this is not an automatic determination, but rather a process wherein you must apply for the benefit, submit medical and other evidence that you can no longer engage in meaningful work, and then a determination is made. From what you have submitted in your question, it does not sound like you would be eligible.

Insofar as receiving vocational rehabilitation to become a legal nurse consultant, it is unclear whether you would need rehabilitation to take this career path, but your attorney can discuss this with you. In the meantime, you might want to review what is required to become a legal nurse consultant. One resource is the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (www.aalnc.org), which has a link to its LNC online course, as well as other important information. Also, there are numerous private nurse entrepreneurs who have established legal nurse consulting courses and that information is readily available for your review on the Internet.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.