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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Meet the Black Woman Making History as a Nurse Despite Being Wheelchair Bound

Andrea Dalzell

Nationwide — Meet Andrea Dalzell, an African American woman from New York City who became a Registered Nurse despite being wheelchair-bound since childhood. Andrea, also known as The Seated Nurse, is making history as the first-ever wheelchair-using nurse in the state of New York.

Diagnosed with transverse myelitis at the age of 5, Andrea struggled with pain, muscle weakness, and paralysis since then, according to her website. This condition left her wheelchair-bound by the time she was 12 years old. However, Andrea refused to let her disability define her.

After earning her degree from the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, Andrea faced challenges securing a nursing job. She encountered barriers trying to convince hospitals she could handle nursing duties from a wheelchair.

Despite this, she persisted, taking on various roles like health director and case manager to make ends meet while pursuing her dream.

Her determination paid off after 76 interviews when she was finally hired as New York State’s first wheelchair-using registered nurse. Even amid the pandemic, Andrea continued to serve on the frontlines, tending to COVID-19 patients in New York City.

Beyond her nursing duties, Andrea is a vocal advocate for disability rights. She was even crowned Ms. Wheelchair New York in 2015. Her platform, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Access,” aims to empower people with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives.

Throughout her journey, Andrea has garnered recognition for her advocacy efforts, including being named New Mobility’s Person of the Year in 2021 and receiving the Craig H. Neilsen Visionary Prize. Her story has been featured in various media outlets, showcasing her as a beacon of inspiration for individuals with disabilities.

Today, Andrea continues to make strides in healthcare, using her experience to inspire and support others with disabilities. She aims to one day open a nonprofit to help others further, regardless of their physical abilities.

Be sure to follow Andrea on Instagram @TheSeatedNurse