How A Lifetime Of Chronic Illness Inspired Me To Become A Nurse

Andrea Dalzell is a phenomenal and passionate Registered Nurse, a highly active Healthcare Advocate, Disability Rights Influencer, and most importantly, a strong Survivor!

Andrea Dalzell was born and raised in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, New York. At the early age of five, Andrea was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that causes pain, muscle weakness and paralysis and was using a wheelchair full-time by age 12. Although this diagnosis was very critical, Andrea let absolutely nothing get in the way of being all that she could be.

Andrea received her degree from the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, however, due to societal flaws, life after graduation for Andrea was only the beginning of a long disappointing journey of trying to convince hospital staff that she could handle the job duties of being a nurse in a wheelchair.

Andrea was crowned Ms. Wheelchair New York 2015, and utilized her title and platform: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Access, to promote her message and belief that people with disabilities can live a fulfilling life.

While diligently trying to secure a position in a hospital, Dalzell worked as the health director, case manager, and an in-school nurse to make ends meet, however, she continued to interview in pursuit of her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.

After 76 interviews, Andrea Dalzell was finally given the opportunity to prove herself and was hired as the first Registered Nurse in a wheelchair in New York state. As the first registered nurse in a wheelchair in New York state; these days Andrea Dalzell is still getting lots of attention for her role tending to coronavirus patients in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic.

Ms. Dalzell has been ultimately respected most for her influence and healthcare advocacy for the rights of those with disabilities throughout her journey. As an advocate and activist, she’s has been recognized in the spotlight over the years including being named New Mobility’s Person of the Year (2021), Craig H. Neilsen Visionary Prize Winner, an ambassadorship with Urbane Scrubs, and features in United Spinal, HomeCare Magazine, Apple’s iWatch campaign, The Mighty/Yahoo, Forbes and also Nurse Blake.

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