Employers should know that I am still very capable of doing the job, but shift work can add extra hurdles with increased fatigue. I am currently working. I have had symptoms for about two years but was diagnosed seven months ago. I work in the health care industry so have felt very supported. The most debilitating issues with regards to my working capacity are slowness of movement, fatigue/lack of sleep, muscle stiffness/rigidity, standing/walking and pain. No specific time of day was worse. Rigidity after sitting for a period of time, like getting out of the car after half hour drive. Night shifts were difficult. Most issues have greatly improved with medications. Strategies or techniques that could be helpful to support me to stay in the workforce longer could be flexibility to work around fluctuating symptoms and reduced hours. I required a ‘return to work’ type form to be filled in by my doctor in order to be exempt from having to work night shifts.

I work as a nurse and my rigidity and discomfort were quite visible to others prior to diagnosis. My manager was already aware of my concerns prior to my seeing a neurologist. So when I was given the diagnosis I was open and honest. If people notice symptoms and ask questions I am happy to disclose that I have Parkinson’s. I was pretty confident about my rights, and knew I had access to people and union members if I was challenged about capacity to work.

I have no idea how long before things become more challenging at work, I hope I will know when it’s time to give up work before I am forced to quit.