Ashley Tew’s career as a nurse was just getting started when she began to feel numbness and pain in her legs and hips that left her unable to stand for long periods of time. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic nerve disorder. Her job caring for seriously ill newborn infants required her to be on her feet for 12- hour shifts. Unable to continue working, she went on disability leave. Just 24, her career was seemingly over.
Fortunately, the disability insurance plan provided by Ashley’s employer gave her hope. It replaced a portion of her salary when she first went on disability, helping her make ends meet while she was unable to work. But her disability benefit offered something more—help in finding a new job. Ashley’s physical disability wasn’t the only barrier she faced. When she graduated from college, demand for nurses in her field was so high she was immediately hired. “I never had an interview,” she recalls. “I had no interview skills, no résumé. Those were things I really needed help with.”
Anita Zeiders, a vocational rehabilitation counselor with Ashley’s insurance company, was assigned to assist her. Anita arranged for Ashley to get expert help in resume writing and interviewing strategies, and she consulted with Ashley after each job interview. Six months later, Ashley landed a desk job back at the hospital. Her new full-time job as a chart auditor in the hospital’s heart center is to make sure details of a patient’s treatment are correctly recorded and entered into databases. Ashley is once again working in her chosen field.