Students with disabilities are being admitted to nursing schools in increasing numbers. Yes, obstacles may occur. But what is important to know is that students with various disabilities ranging from hearing loss to chronic illness have been admitted to nursing programs. Many have graduated and moved on to successful nursing careers.
So how do you achieve that level of success? Try these tips:
Do Your Homework
- Nursing school and the practice itself is physically and emotionally demanding. Find out all you can about the technical skills needed to become a nurse.
- Volunteer in a healthcare setting.
- Talk to nurses and nursing students.
- Visit The National Institute of Health to learn about careers in health sciences.
- Learn about your legal rights to reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Read all you can about nurses and nursing students with disabilities.
- Get involved with advocacy groups for nurses and students with disabilities such as the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses and ExceptionalNurse.com, a nonprofit resource network for nurses and nursing students with disabilities.
- Network with nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Ask about accommodations that helped them.
Find a mentor.
Get Organized Early
- Gather letters documenting your disability from your physician, audiologist, or psychologist. If you request reasonable accommodations from a nursing program, the Office for Students with Disabilities will require documentation.
- Research technology and equipment options that may be helpful such as amplified stethoscopes, audiobooks, and screen readers.
Cast a Wide Net
- There are no universal standards for admission to nursing programs. Requirements can vary from state to state and program to program. A student can be rejected by one program and welcomed by another.
- Explore different nursing programs.
- Visit the campus Office of Students with Disabilities.
- Meet with nursing educators and the Dean or Program Director.
- Ask about technical or core performance standards.
- Ask about whether or not you will need to have transportation. And also ask how long is a clinical day.
- Visit the nursing practice laboratory. Examine the equipment and take a tour.
- Anticipate a wide range of responses to your disability.
- Rehearse responses to questions you may be asked.
- How will you be able to perform CPR? Lift a heavy patient? Hear a patientâ€™s call for help?
Admittedly, nursing school can be stressful for all students. Having a disability can make the journey even more challenging. But with proper planning and preparation, you can be on the path to success. Your unique skills, abilities and experiences will add to the profession and enrich patient care.
If nursing is your passion, do your homework and go for it!