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National Stuttering Association

Brendan MahoneyOccupational Health and Safety Specialist Registered Nurse

    Brendan Mahoney

    Richmond, VA
    Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Registered Nurse
    Virginia Department of Health

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    As an occupational health nurse with the Virginia Department of Health, I oversee the health and wellness of all VDH employees. As we are coming out of the pandemic, many VDH employees have neglected their health needs over these 2+years. I am happy to serve these VDH employees and to assess/gauge their needs.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    Presentations are always a challenge. Thankfully I feel empowered with the confidence instilled in me by my team and supervisor, which are vital in any employment situation. Phone calls are always a daily challenge, but they become easier the more I do them and in the context of the call, the level of difficulty/stress is proportional to the topic. (i.e. discussing a general topic being easier and being questioned by a superior on a possible performance issue being more challenging).

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    I have been in the nursing field for 16 years. It has been my professional goal to be an occupational health nurse, so I feel blessed to be in this position, as it’s taken me a good portion of my nursing career to reach this position. My next step is to start studying for board certification in occupational health nursing.

    Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
    I did during my interview process and when I first met my supervisor. I also addressed it in our first staff meeting. I feel it’s an ice breaker, as it allows everyone to be comfortable. I also explained that there is not a need to help with or finish my words or sentences while I speak. This way, it’s out on the open, there’s no questions, and everyone can be at ease. Lastly, I offer to answer any questions they may have in the future about my stuttering.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?
    Being in the position as a professional resource for VDH employees for health and wellness.

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
    It makes me more determined and resilient when facing problems, challenges, and obstacles in the workplace.

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    Stutterers should focus on their strengths, as anyone would. Speaking may not be one of them, and that is nothing to be ashamed of, as I’m sure some non-stutterers may have the same weaknesses.