Post by Lαrα on Nov 15, 2013 1:55:01 GMT -8
I recently attended a Spinal Injuries Association masterclass, it was a day course that covered aspects and considerations of returning to work after having a Spinal Cord Injury. Many people may be wondering what their position is in regards to work,,can they carry out their existing role.will it affect benefits..what are my reasons for returning to work.?
Unfortunately thoughts that run through the mind may be of what you can no longer do, especially with your recent loss of function but there is no reason why you cannot consider returning to work
Of course, returning to work and being able to still carry out your previous role has to be a practical option for you if you are wanting to return to your previous role.
If you are a firefighter for example, its not going to be practical to return to work in that role but there more than likely there will be a role that you can still carry out within that service.
Consider what transferable skills you have. Its surprising that when you actually stop and think about skills you have picked up in other aspects of your life...you will have a fair collection that can be used in alternative options for work..interests/hobbies that you have and previous work you have carried out etc you will have acquired skills that you dont even notice you have...
This may be a time for you to consider a new direction...look at what re training opportunities there are for you...do you want to go back to studying first? Somevindividuals have chosen to go into self employment as it offers more flexibility.
What are your reasons for wanting to go back into employment, what is you incentive?..the obvious one is the financial benefit...other factors are self esteem, confidence, social interaction and the challenge.
If you are looking at a change of career...putting together a good CV is your first job....a good CV is your first 'step' in the door so make sure its professionally put together and add skills that you have acquired. Here in the UK, some employers are part of a scheme that gives automatic interviews to people with a disability (this is a rare time when your disability will give you the advantage over others lol)
So..your at your interview...sell yourself!! You have plenty to offer...your mobility/loss of function does not make you unworthy...know your worth and sell it!..i cant emphasize this enough..be confident, articulate and resolved...Lets be honest look at the determination you will have used to go through rehab and adapting to your new life. ...talk about this...it will say more so much about you as a potential employee, dealing with and coming through a life changing event in your life will show how adaptable you are...use this...
When you do return to work, you will have things to consider..
Fatigue: Fatigue is already an issue for many..returning to work will no doubt tire you..your day may already be longer than many due to the physical needs of your routine (bowel routine/catheterising) and the routine that needs to be implemented into your work routine. Transporting to work...makes your day longer, medication that you need may already have a tiring effect on you.
Time management: Your day may need to start earlier than usual to accommodate your physical bowel routine/showering/catheterising, taking your meds...Some medication such as a one particular calcium tablet takes one hour to be taken whilst you do not eat and have to sit up.
If you are returning to work part time...choosing your work days on non bowel days may be an option? As we all know, getting ready, getting into the car...getting to public transport all takes longer...start your day in plenty of time and consider these factors in your timetable.
Practical assistance: Consider what practical assistance you will need to help you get ready before work..will you need assistance in getting to work and back? Look at any equipment that may make your job easier to carry out...
Being Fit and Healthy: Sounds like an obvious one lol but its an important factor to maintaining employment.. Dont neglect yourself during a busy workday ...take the best possible care of yourself..maintain an effective bowel programme and cathing regime, take extra care of your skin..dont forget pressure releases throughout your day..drink plenty and eat healthily. Is there a disable toilet you can use so you can attend to your physical needs throughout the day?
Building access: What is the access like in your workplace...is it practically ramped...can you get about the building with reasonable ease? if there are stairs..is there a lift? (The local primary school that i used to work at has stairs to some of the classrooms and no lift.)
Reasonable adjusments: These are considerations that you will need that will enable you equally as your colleagues to be able to carry out your role. There is generally a law that will cover this. Here is the UK it is covered by the Equality Act. Reasonable adjustments involve Making changes to buildings or premises where you work •Changing the way in which your job is carried out •Providing equipment to help you to do your job.
If you do decide that you would like to return to work, you should not let your injury prevent you from doing this. There are many, many people who carry out various roles with success...some have taken on new challenges since becoming Spinal Cord Injured!!
One guy went on to university to study Law, he is still vented ventilator and has a complete injury. He is now a practicing lawyer and successful...he explained that managing his working day effectively was essential..He caught a train to work and back and had practical assistance during the journey. Everything and anything is possible...you just have to be determined, organised and be able to think wider than the normal box :)..so go for it!
One of the presenters on our course decided to do a degree course at University to study film..he was older than many in his classes but a he pointed out University is not just for the younger population. You can go to University at any age and them look at an alternative career path