Can people with vision loss really work in the health care industry?
Posted by Yulea1 on 4/14/2011 at 12:49 PM
I am often asked if people with vision loss can really work within the health care industry, especially as a nurse. The answer is "yes, they can." Not only do I know this from personal experience but, I also know other nurses (and doctors) who are blind or visually impaired and safely, successfully practice their profession.
To learn how one would do this go to the Success Stories section of AFB CareerConnect and read the articles about and by those in healthcare. Then, come back here to post your questions and comments to engage in a dialogue with mentors on this subject.
There are currently 3 replies
Re:Can people with vision loss really work in the health care industry?Posted by tlhpedspt on 9/11/2011 at 6:52 PM
I would like to talk to anyone with visual impairment that is a physical therapist. I worked as a physical therapist with children prior to having a brain tumor and now have hemianopsia. (see nothing to the right in each eye).
Re:Can people with vision loss really work in the health care industry?Posted by Yulea1 on 9/15/2011 at 2:40 PM
If you want to keep working as a Physical Therapist (PT) you are in luck. Other people with vision loss successfully work in this occupation and by having your experience and training behind you, you are already ahead of the game. Now all you have to do is complete a vision rehabilitation program with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VCR) if you haven’t already.
I’m going to tell you how to connect with some of the visually impaired Physical Therapists through AFB.
First, copy all of the links in this post.
Then, go to the home page of AFB CareerConnect at www.careerconnect.org and look for the Register as a User link found about half way down the center of the page and register.
Now that you are registered, click on the Mentor Search Results link that follows to view the profiles of Physical Therapists who are successfully working with vision loss. You can email all of them or just pick one or two; your choice. To email them simply click on their job title and an email page will pop open. (Having access to emailing mentors was the purpose for registering.)
Mentor Search Results
You may also read a discussion thread about PTs who are blind or visually impaired that was on our message board previously. Here is that link:
I also suggest that you listen to this live interview with Jolene Ferguson, one of our CareerConnect Mentors, who worked as a visually impaired PT for 35 years. Jolene is now retired but, still giving out great advice.
Be sure to check back in a few days to give your post time to circulate and see if there are any posts from other PTs with vision loss.
Good luck with your endeavors… we’d love to have you as another CareerConnect Mentor in this field once you get back on your feet! If you have more questions or comments, please feel free to post again or email email@example.com.
Re:Can people with vision loss really work in the health care industry?Posted by JoleneW on 11/1/2011 at 11:41 AM
I have been legally blind all of my life with a diagnosis of retinopathy of prematurity. My left eye is prosthetic. At best, the visual acuity of my right eye was 20/600. During my career, I developed a cataract that was removed without possibility of a lens implant. I was also unable to make use of a contact or glasses.
I am now retired for seven years, but I worked as a PT at a 142-bed hospital with a 15-bed rehab facility for 35 years. My special interest area was stroke rehab and I took several NDT courses throughout my career as well as assorted other courses.
I, of course, cannot speak to whatever additional neuro problems that may have resulted from your brain tumor, but I would think that you can easily learn to compensate for a visual field loss. I am thinking that your visual acuity is within normal limits in the left visual field meaning that you can see to read and write your notes. If this assumption is correct, you should also be able to do some visual observation of a child moving about independently.
If you meet the requirements for legal blindness, then there are resources to help you compensate including computer software that enlarges the text on the screen or speaks the text.
If you work with children, I am thinking that much of what you do is hands-on treatment with little need for the modalities. It would seem to me that you might be most comfortable with children who are more severely involved so that they will not be running around and you can use your hands to assess their movement and function. If you work in a facility that has other therapists, you may be able to work out a system whereby they offer information that you may miss visually. Your trade off would be to help them in some other way that you excel.
Are you having trouble convincing others that you are able, or are you having trouble with your own confidence level? If the latter is true, then you might consider volunteering in a pediatric Pt department for a while to see how it goes. Is there any chance that your former employer would be supportive of such efforts?
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