How a woman born with malformed hands overcame the odds to become a nurse – Orange County Register

The letter arrived like a slap in the face.

She was being knowledgeable, in so many phrases, that she wanted to select one other main or discover one other college. Her chosen course of research – nursing – was achieved for her at Cal State San Bernardino.

“I was in tears,” stated Kimberly Reichardt, now 25, of the 2015 letter that would have derailed her profession. “I was upset and angry. That was my dream, my goal. I felt like nursing was my calling.”

No was a phrase she heard too typically as she tried to make it as a nurse.

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, works her shift the at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is one among lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping potential in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Day by day Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, works on a sufferers document at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is certainly one of lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping means in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Day by day Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, speaks with Ruby Alvarez, 6, in her mattress at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is certainly one of lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping capacity in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Day by day Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, will get a mattress prepared for a younger affected person at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is certainly one of lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping capability in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Day by day Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, speaks with Ruby Alvarez, 6, in her mattress at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is certainly one of lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping capability in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Every day Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, works on a sufferers report at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is considered one of lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping capacity in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Day by day Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Pediatric nurse Kimberly Reichardt, 25 of Yucaipa, will get a mattress prepared for a younger affected person at Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle in Moreno Valley, Thursday night December 13, 2018. Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz Syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her with malformed hands and ft. She is one in every of lower than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. Kimberly had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping capacity in her hands. (Photograph by Will Lester, Inland Valley Day by day Bulletin/SCNG)

Reichardt was born with Cenani-Lenz syndrome, a genetic dysfunction that compromised the bones in her extremities, leaving her malformed hands and ft. She is one among fewer than 30 individuals in the world who’ve the dysfunction. She had 12 surgical procedures throughout her childhood that helped give her gripping capacity in her hands.

A nurse with malformed hands? How would she insert an IV? How would she placed on sterile gloves? How would she draw blood?

She stated she utilized to the CSUSB nursing program 5 occasions, and was rejected each time. Then she stated she was advised to change her main or depart the faculty.

Should you assume she gave up, you don’t know Kimberly Reichardt.

‘Nurses connect’

She could also be the solely individual in America with Cenani-Lenz syndrome, which is carried solely via recessive genes of oldsters and is often present in Germany. Her mother and father, Jan and Steve Reichardt, match the first half and, as Jan stated, “He’s a lot German, and I’m a little German.”

“What are the odds of me carrying that recessive gene and then marrying someone carrying that recessive gene?” Jan stated. “It is crazy rare.”

On Oct. 2, 1993, Kimberly Reichardt was born with a 250 million-to-1 dysfunction.

“You grieve for her future,” Jan stated.

Her physician did her a favor by slicing a slot between her small webbed fingers. If she might pinch, she might carry skinny gadgets in her hands.

“I remember running through the house with a piece of paper laughing and screaming,” she stated.

She grew up in San Jacinto. She performed basketball and dodgeball. She might dance on her toes in ballet. She performed piano. Her mother and father always strengthened a message to her: “You need to do it,” she remembers them saying. “You’re independent.”

The most important impediment: Tying her footwear.

She begged her mom for assist.

“No,” her mom informed her, “you can do it.”

And she or he did.

She endured some teasing, as you may anticipate.

“I came home from school crying, but it wasn’t that often,” she stated.

A really constant and comforting place in her life was the hospital. She was there for a while virtually each summer time of her younger life. In seventh grade, she had surgical procedure on her foot and it was notably painful. She remembers being virtually inconsolable.

“My mom couldn’t comfort me,” she stated.

Then a nurse got here into the room and sat by her mattress. “She told me a story and prayed for me,” Reichardt stated. “She sang songs to me. Nurses connect with patients.”

From that time ahead, she needed to be a nurse.

As early as eight years previous, she was volunteering at Riverside Group Hospital, handing out sweet to individuals who had given blood. She held infants. She performed with toddlers.

“I was amazed by her character and her drive,” stated Annette Greenwood, chief nursing officer at the hospital. “You could never put an obstacle in front of her that she couldn’t find her way around.”

‘Life threw her a curve’

School nursing turned an impediment.

She remembers strolling into the Cal State San Bernardino nursing workplace for the first time. Her look prompted an instantaneous response.

“They told me, ‘You’re not going to make it in this nursing program,’” Reichardt stated.

CSUSB Nursing Division chair Terese Burch stated she doesn’t know Reichardt and was not the chair when she was making use of.

“But we have not said no to anybody for a physical condition,” Burch stated. “There are stringent academic requirements, and there are certain functions that someone must be able to perform.”

Reichardt took pre-nursing programs and acquired good grades. However she utilized 5 occasions, unsuccessfully, to the CSUSB program.

“Those were inappropriate denials based on her disability,” stated Greenwood, who suggested her to depart that faculty for Riverside Group School.

RCC is the place Reichardt’s nursing profession took off.

“Life threw her a curve,” stated Jan Reichardt. “What a blessing, watching what God has done in her life. Kimberly will keep fighting through.”

Nonetheless, she had to grasp three expertise that proved to be troublesome for somebody with malformed hands: inserting IVs, drawing blood and sterile gloving. Registered nurse Tammy Lowe started working with her to develop these expertise.

She practiced on bananas and oranges. She practiced on Lowe.

And she or he caught needles in her mother.

“I’m an easy stick,” Jan stated. “It barely hurt. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.”

Kimberly Reichardt handed the needles portion of the check.

That left the sterile gloves.

She had to wash her hands and placed on gloves with out touching something however the gloves. And she or he had to do it in entrance of a nurse teacher.

The trainer requested her, “Can you even do this?” Jan Reichardt stated.

After Kimberly carried out the gloving flawlessly, the teacher appeared her in the eye.

“The instructor told her, ‘I need to apologize to you,’” Jan Reichardt stated. “‘I’m so sorry. Thank you. I learned a lesson.’”

On the job

In March 2017, with her RCC education full, Reichardt went to Riverside College Well being System Medical Middle to apply for a job in pediatrics. They advised her they might get again to her.

“I know what it’s like to be in that bed and be scared and to be uncomfortable,” she stated.

She hoped her ardour for nursing would get potential employers to look previous her hands.

As she walked towards her automotive in the parking zone, her telephone rang.

They advised her she had the job.

“I was thrilled,” she stated.

She went to Dattilo Ristorante Italiano in Hemet to have fun with her mother and father. Reichardt had the tiramisu.

She’s now the cost nurse, which means she makes the schedules for the different nurses. She works nights, and she or he is completely satisfied to report that no affected person has ever turned down her care due to her hands.

“It’s a blessing to watch her help other kids,” her mom stated. “She knows what it’s like to feel vulnerable.”

Reichardt is taking courses on-line to full her bachelor’s diploma. And in Might, she confirmed the extent of her independence.

She purchased a home. It’s a small place in Yucaipa, and she or he lives with a basset hound named Mumford and a cat named Bailey. She’s received a half-acre of land.

“I want to get a cow someday,” she stated. “I don’t like country music, but everything else about me is country.”

She has a signal on her front room wall:

All the time pray to have eyes that see the greatest in individuals.

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