The paper will examine the impact of multiple sclerosis on occupational roles and career patterns of 210 persons registered with the Vancouver Island Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Methodology: 210 participants responded to a 17-item mailed questionnaire. Items pertained to participants' demographic characteristics, medical history related to MS, years of career training, occupational history and changes in employment associated with changes in physical status due to MS.
Findings: An initial analysis indicates that the majority of the respondents (64.8%) were 30-59 years of age, the years of greatest career development. Although 97.1% of respondents had held a job at some time in their lives, only 24% were employed on a full or part-time basis at the time of the study. The greatest decrease in employment occurred in health related professions and service industries. Disabilities and symptoms which had the greatest effect on employment were fatigue and muscle weakness. Identified work related problems included inability to work full time and inaccessible environments. The paper will discuss strategies nurses can use to assist employees with MS.