Nurses with different (dis)abilities

Laurie Clune

Assistant Professor – Ryerson University

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One Response to “Nurses with different (dis)abilities”

  1. amanda
    November 22, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    THANK YOU!! As a differently abled nursing student, I see first hand how difficult the “rules” make it for us to get through nursing school. And it’s not just vision/hearing/etc. Chronic debilitating illnesses are a MAJOR issue in accessing equal nursing education and opportunities. Tasks are no problem, but stamina, scheduling, course loads…. we are treated as everyone else, which of course is good, but on the other hand, we have definite medical issues that need accommodations that just aren’t thought of. Sure, we get the normal “extended exam time” and “priority seating” blah blah blah but for some of us, those things are completely irrelevant to the consequences of our physical impairments.

    Disabilities cannot be standardized, and professors/nursing departments need to be more open to new methods that would truly make opportunities equal to all differently abled students – whether we have a stereotyped “disability,” a learning disabilitiy, or a hidden internal illness that severely limits certain aspects of life and of course, education.

    All too often we are punished for our needs instead of embraced as students who not only want to be a nurse, but are SO determined that we are willing to overcome extra obstacles.

    Meanwhile, nurses with disabilities bring an element of empathy that cannot be learned, bought, taught, or forced. We have been exactly where our patients are and can relate in ways no other nurse can. Sadly though, many of us with health/physical impairments are all but kicked out of nursing school because no one knows what to do about our “special needs,” and there just comes a time when we don’t know what else to do.

    So thank you so much Robert for doing this, and thank you Prof. Clune for your work. Knowledge is power, and I’m thrilled that not only are you researching this issue, but you are truly giving a voice to our silent cries of having a passion to change lives but being hindered in unnecessary ways.

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