Young woman sets record as the first wheelchair-using registered nurse in New York


A young African-American woman named Andrea Dalzell fulfilled her lifelong dream of finally becoming a nurse. She made history as the first-ever registered nurse using a wheelchair in New York, United States.


Andrea, from Brooklyn, New York was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that causes pain, muscle weakness and paralysis at the age of 5 according to her website.

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Because of the critical situation of her health, she started using wheelchair at age 12. However, Andrea did not allow her diagnosis to define her life path. She obtained a degree from the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, United States.


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She passed her nursing tests and other criteria with flying colors and became a nurse in 2018. “New York State’s nursing board told me I was the first wheelchair user in the state to graduate with a credential,” she said.

Andrea said life after graduation has been challenging because she encountered barriers trying to convince hospital staff that she could handle the duties of being a nurse in a wheelchair.



“Nurse managers sometimes thought it was more of a hindrance to have someone in a wheelchair on the floor. I had to tell them, it’s not just bedside care, it’s teamwork. Don’t judge me before you know what I can do,” she said.


Despite the challenges, she persisted, taking on various roles like health director, case manager, and in-school nurse to make ends meet. However, she continued to interview in pursuit of her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse

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