When you have a spinal cord injury, we all dream of having that perfect nurse that is highly capable, caring, and knowledgeable of all things spinal cord. “Nurse Linda” aka Linda M. Schultz from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation fits this bill and then some. Having worked as a nurse in the spinal cord injury field for over 30 years, she loves rehabilitation medicine and has dedicated her career to it.
Unknown to many is the fact that Nurse Linda is also a Doctor. Her brilliant mind and passion for spinal cord injury led her to work with the Reeve Foundation for several years, including working with Christopher Reeve directly before his passing. A source of amazing advice for people with spinal cord injuries, read on to learn more about the highly informative Nurse Linda.
Why She’s Fearless?
Nurse Linda’s foray into spinal cord injury medicine began early in her schooling. “When I was in nursing school I told a professor how much I enjoyed working with individuals with long term disability. She said to try rehab. I did and was lucky to find my niche right out of school. My first position was at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago,” she says. Linda has been working in this field ever since and she’s proud to be a physical rehabilitation nurse.
“I could have specialized in other areas of healthcare but rehab nurses get to know people and become involved in their progression. I like being a part of the entire process. Other health professionals do their thing. I do mine and am happy doing it.” Nurse Linda received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Spinal cord injuries also interested her because of their exactness, which makes it one of the easiest neurological disorders to research. “Spinal cord injury trauma is like a natural research project. Generally, you know what happened, the type of injury, the exact day and time of the injury and the expected outcome. This information cannot be determined in other diseases.”
It was over 20 years ago when Nurse Linda became involved with the Reeve Foundation, which is where she currently works. She suggested to Christopher Reeve himself that he begin doing active physical exercises to his body below his level of injury, which is now known as activity based therapy. “Years ago, an idea about providing activity to the area of the body below the level of injury was proposed. Christopher Reeve was approached. He agreed to participate in this change of treatment philosophy,” she says. “Ah, the power of nurses! The result of adding activity to his routine was a change in ASIA score from A to C. What a significant difference.”
As Nurse Linda for the Reeve Foundation, she also gets to travel across the country and the world helping people with spinal cord injuries. Each month, she also hosts a webinar called “Ask A Nurse” that’s on the last Wednesday every month at 3:00pm EST. A variety of topics are discussed pertaining to spinal cord injuries.
As for healthy living tips that all people with spinal cord injuries should take heed to, Nurse Linda recommends the importance of sleep and trying to devise a schedule so that you do not get interrupted sleep from catheterizing and turning. She also recommends socializing on a regular basis. “Research lets us know that people need to interact with people for improved mental health.” She’s also a huge proponent of drinking water and deep breathing. “That is a lot of health improvement at no cost.”
If you’d like to meet Nurse Linda, you can find her at the Abilities Expo doling out advice on health issues related to SCI. She will be at the next one in Houston, Texas August 4th, 2018.
– Nurse Linda recommends everyone w/ a SCI keep a free SCI info wallet card on their person. Download yours here
Watch her Videos!