The new TNT show HawthoRNe features Suleka Mathew as nurse Bobbie Jackson. The fact that Suleka Mathew was born in India and raised in Canada is interesting to some, but to nurses with disabilities, the fact that she plays a nurse who wears a prosthetic leg is a giant step in the right direction.
The portrayal of nurses with disabilities in movies and television programs is long overdue. Art should reflect life, but often falls short. In real life, nurses with limb differences are practicing every day in a wide range of settings.
Meet a few of our nursing stars—
Tamara Walker is an RN in Oklahoma. She is a pediatric nurse and child safety expert. Tamara lost her leg due to a birth defect. At the time (40 years ago) it was so rare it did not have a name. Now, they believe it may have been caused by amniotic banding syndrome.
Tamara is passionate about protecting children and hosts a parenting radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com. The Ask MomRN Show covers a wide variety of parenting, family, safety and health topics, and features several well-known expert guests. Parents are welcome to call in with questions and speak with MomRN and her guests during the show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/MomRN. You can also visit Tamara at www.MomRN.com.
Carolyn McKinzie, RN lost her leg two years after it was crushed in an auto accident. Though they told her she would never likely return to nursing, she now works as a dialysis nurse at Maine General Medical Center in Waterville, Maine.
In addition, Carolyn is a member of Hanger Prosthetic's "Amputee Empowerment Program" and serves as a certified peer counselor. Her job is to become involved with a patient facing amputation as soon as possible. In some cases she gets to see patients before their amputation, but in trauma situations she may not have a lead time.
Carolyn McKinzie also wrote a soon to be published book about the experience called, "Walk Softly: A Woman's Journey Through Limb Loss".
Elisa M. Blair RN, BSN lives in Fruita, Colorado. She is a nursing case manager for William's Case Management. Elisa does nurse case management for worker compensation cases in western Colorado. She lost her leg to cancer at the age of nine. Elisa has worked on an orthopedic unit and in case management for over two years.
As the curtain closes on this article, thank you TNT for showcasing a nurse with a disability, but more importantly, thanks to all of the nurses with disabilities who are practicing every day - making a difference - far removed from the lights, cameras and glamour of Tinseltown.
Photos courtesy of www.ExceptionalNurse.com.