A common concern for people considering a career in healthcare is whether or not their own health issues will keep them out of the field. The simple answer is usually no, but there are a few things you need to know before you start down this career path. For one thing, you need to understand the physical and mental demands of the career you’re considering. Not only will you need to decide whether you’re able to perform the tasks, but you’ll need to know what employers and instructors in that profession will require. There are certain aspects of any job that you must be able to perform, whether it’s lifting a certain amount of weight or standing for long periods of time. Some might be easy for you, while others might require some adjustment. Here’s everything you need to know in order to navigate this complicated topic.
What the Law Says
According to the ADA (American Disability Act), employers are not allowed to ask applicants to identify their disabilities or answer certain medical questions before making a job offer. They can, however, ask applicants if and how they would perform certain job duties. This is provided that they ask all applicants the same questions and don’t discriminate due to an visible disability.
What this means for people with health issues is that they can’t be discriminated against as long as they can reasonably perform the job. Depending on the type of job it is, you may even be entitled to certain accommodations to help you perform it. Employers may also implement a trial period for their employees in order to see if you’re the best fit for the job provided they extend the same requirement to everyone they hire.
Pursuing a Career in Healthcare With a Health Condition
If you and your doctor feel that your health issues will not prevent you from performing the tasks of your chosen profession, then there’s no reason it should be a limitation. The first step is just to choose a program that will get you started on the right path and explore your financial aid options. You’ll also want to decide whether you’ll pursue a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or certification.
A popular option for people with health issues and many others is online learning. There are accelerated nursing programs offered partially or completely online that accommodate those who choose not to sit in a classroom all day. Usually, a nursing program offered completely online is for prerequisite courses or advanced practitioners (such as a BSN program). But you can complete your LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) or RN (Registered Nurse) licensure with a short hands-on program before you begin. This is a great option for those who want to advance their education while they continue to work.
Learning to Live and Work With Health Issues
It’s important for people with chronic health issues to learn to cope with them so they don’t interfere with their lives. Some issues make it more difficult than others, but there are lots of ways to continue to thrive no matter what your particular situation. Of course, depending on the profession you’re in, these accommodations probably need to be tailored around your typical work tasks. For example, if you experience hearing loss, it’s important for you to do what you can to improve it. The medical profession is often fast-paced and your co-workers will expect you to hear orders and directives. If severe hearing loss does happen to be your issue, take the time to find the best hearing aids for your particular situation. This will probably require several consults with your physician and audiologist. It might even require some trial and error until you find the hearing aids that are the most comfortable and give you the best sound quality, especially if your work takes place in a clinical setting with a lot of background noise.