Dealing With Student Disability In Nursing Education

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Student Disability and Dealing With It In Nursing Education

Dealing With Student Disability In Nursing Education

What Meant by Disability,Responsibilities of Nursing Educators to Deal With Students Disability,Comparison of 12th Grade Study and Nursing Graduation with Disabilities,Educator Behavior toward the Disable Students.

What Meant by Disability

    Disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment (ADA, 2008 ). Such physical and mental disabilities may result from birth, acute or chronic illness, or trauma. One in five people in the United States report having a disability (US Census Bureau, 2012). The term disabled student is sometimes thought of as inappropriate, as it implies that this is the person's most important feature. 

    In its place, many have adopted the term student with a disability (Hutcheon & Wolbring, 2012). In nursing education, a student with a disability is a qualified individual with a documented disability who needs accommodations to have equal access to instruction, class, or programs.

Responsibilities of Nursing Educators to Deal With Students Disability

    Nursing educators have the responsibility to support students with disabilities. In addition, they have access to resources to support students with disabilities. As in all of higher education, nursing schools are required to provide suitable academic adjustments to guarantee discrimination does not occur on the basis of a disability (, nd) Academic adjustments may include auxiliary aides and services or modifications to academic requirements. Reduced academic loads, course substitutions, note takers recording devices, sign language interpreters, and extended test-taking time are other examples of modifications (, nd). 

    An example of an auxiliary aide for faculty is the DOIT Faculty Room, from the University of Washington, which provides strategies to create classroom environments that maximize learning for all students.As more classes are delivered on the web, it is critical that students have access to online materials such as closed captioned video lectures for hearing impaired students and voice-activated software to enable automated text typing for students unable to use a keyboard. Although not specific for educators, guidelines and assistance for web access can be found in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as at WebAIM.

    Nursing educators can support students with disabilities by helping them build self-determination skills. Allowing students to engage in the setup of their services, or encouraging them to explore various technologies and learning strategies, can increase their sense of ownership. Students with disabilities may need encouragement to persist in applying to multiple nursing programs, since individual nursing school admission requirements vary according to the Nurse Practice Act in each state and according to technical or core performance standards in each program (Maheady & Fleming, 2005 ).

     Students with disabilities may also need reassurance or help in locating appropriate adaptive devices to succeed in clinical courses. A wide range of adaptive technologies are available, such as clear surgical masks that enable lip reading: amplified or pressure-sensitive stethoscopes for nursing students with hearing loss; thermometers with audio temperature readings for visually impaired nursing students; and sphygmomanometers that can be operated with one hand for students with physical disabilities (Maheady & Fleming 2005, Shaw, Madaus, & Banerjee, 2009).

Comparison of 12th Grade Study and Nursing Graduation with Disabilities

    Students in preschool through 12th grade are entitled to a free, appropriate public education to be provided in the least restrictive environment. Once these students enter the postsecondary environment, such as nursing school, they bear the responsibility to self-identify, request, and document the need for services, which is one of the main barriers to nursing education (Helms, 2006, p. 195 , Peterson, Van Dycke, Roberson, & Sedaghat, 2013). Students are no longer automatically entitled to services. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides a pamphlet outlining the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities preparing for higher education, based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the ADA of 1990. 

    Both acts prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability (Ed. gov, nd).On the other hand, nursing schools are "not required to lower or substantially modify essential requirements," nor do they need to "make adjustments that would fundamentally alter the nature of a service program or activity or that would result in an undue financial situation or administrative burden" (, n.d.). In addition, nursing schools do not need to "provide personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study or other devices or services of a personal nature" (Ed gow, nd), but do need to ensure equal access. Nursing schools are also responsible for keeping any information related to student disability confidential (Peterson et al., 2013).

Educator Behavior toward the Disable Students

    Nurse educators have the responsibility to ensure all students have equal access in education, which includes physical access to the face-to-face or online classroom and clinical practicum sites, along with programmatic access to all course materials. Students with disabilities must follow the institutional policies and procedures for obtaining accommodations, and that information should be identified in every course syllabus. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, must be reasonable, and must not alter the essential functions of the class. 

    Not only does the classroom need to be accessible, but nursing educators need to keep abreast of adaptive technology options for students with disabilities to enable clinical practicum success and nursing technical skill mastery.The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) encourages best practices in nursing education and employment. The Job Accommodation Network serves as a clearing house with specific information for employers accommodating nurses with disabilities.Role models are needed for all nurses and nursing students. 

    Students with dis abilities often report feelings of isolation and vulnerability University and nursing school settings do not typically allow students with disabilities “media of expression, social outlets, or opportunities to embrace their identities (Hutcheon & Wolbring, 2012). The NOND and websites offer profiles and videos of successful nurses with disabilities at all levels of education and practice. More research is needed on how students with disabilities perceive nursing education (Ashkroft et al, 2008). 

    Nursing educators need to learn more about accommodations and universal design principles for students with disabilities. Ashkroft et al. (2008) address the need for nursing educators to further their own understanding in several domains related to students with disabilities: accommodations in the clinical setting; personal attitudes and biases; legal requirements, professional obligations and university policies that impact admission, accommodation, and evaluation internal nursing school processes for accommodations; and the stigma students may face accessing nursing as a profession. 

    Nursing faculty who embrace opportunities for gaining knowledge in these areas and who utilize the available resources will not only enhance their own perspectives but also enhance the experience and success for nursing students with disabilities, which will ultimately increase the diversity and quality of the future nursing workforce .

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