Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New report: Access, Inclusion and Action in Medical Education

In order to capture the state of disability in medical education, the AAMC and the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine partnered to publish a report based on the lived experiences of learners with disabilities. The report identifies major themes from interviews with 47 students, residents and physicians with disabilities.

Coauthored by Lisa Meeks, PhD and Neera Jain, MS, CRC, the report describes best practices that can promote and foster a positive culture around disability.

Bravo and thanks to Lisa and Neera!


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sian Preddy: First profoundly deaf midwife in Wales!

Sian Preddy

 In an interview reported by the BBC, Sian was four years old when she was first diagnosed as deaf.

"My mother cried and cried when told the news. She had known there was something wrong with me but was constantly brushed off by doctors as an overly anxious mother; she was so relieved to finally have a diagnosis."

"After that, I was given a hearing aid but just ripped it off. Nothing helped. I kept getting ear infections and by the age of 14 was classed as profoundly deaf."

"Because I had spent so much time in hospital as a child, I was interested in the medical world and wanted to be a nurse."

After having two children and a cochlear implant, Sian applied for midwifery training and "never looked back". So far, she has completed two years at the University of South Wales.

Read more of the story at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-43376926.

Cheers and congratulations to Sian!!!   


P.S. Sian has been nominated for Disability Wales' #IAmEmbolden awards to honour women for breaking down barriers and empowering others.

Think she will win???

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Nursing students with disabilities: Is your campus assault prevention program inclusive?

A study, conducted by the National Council on Disability, a federal agency, suggests that undergraduates with a disability are more likely to be sexually assaulted than are their peers without a disability, and that colleges don’t know how to support them.
About 31.6 percent of female undergraduates with a disability reported having been sexually assaulted, compared with 18.4 percent of undergraduate women without a disability, the study found.
“Sexual assault has become a topic of concern on campuses and with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but seldom has the conversation included consideration of the needs of college students with disabilities,” said Wendy Harbour, a member of the council and director of the National Center for College Students With Disabilities, in a news release.
The study, described in a report titled “Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students With Disabilities,” is the first federally funded examination of how the needs of sexual-assault victims with disabilities are treated in colleges’ policies and procedures.
“Campus assault prevention and education programs are not inclusive of students with disabilities,” the report says, “and college staff lack awareness that such programs should be accessible to students with disabilities, and staff are not trained in disability accommodations.”


Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to read your thoughts, experiences or suggestions.

With thanks,


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Access to RN-BSN programs for nurses who use wheelchairs

A nurse who uses a power wheelchair shared the following story:

I was recently accepted into an RN to BSN program. I have an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) from an accident. I use a power wheelchair, drive a modified van and do not require any accommodations for writing, computer or telephone use. I am also Minimum Data Set (MDS) certified.

I was officially accepted into the nursing program. The program never asked about my disability or shared any technical standards.

I attended the first week of classes and was told, "you can't be a nurse because you don't meet the college's technical standards." There is a small component of the program that includes a clinical experience and they said I wouldn't be able to participate as, "I must be able to ambulate without any assistive device".

So many questions to ask about this situation?????

You "can't be a nurse". She is a nurse!!!!!

Isn't this screaming discrimination?

What about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and reasonable accommodation?

The clinical portion of an RN-BSN program is typically in a community setting...so accommodation would certainly be possible.

What about totally online RN-BSN programs?

What would you advise this nurse to do?

With thanks in advance!


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Can I become a nurse with my lower arm missing?

Angelica Baeza, SN

Recently, I received the following email from a nursing student.

Good afternoon.
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Angelica Baeza and I'm a new Nursing 1 student currently attending Orange County Community College in Newburgh, NY. I was born without the lower portion of my left arm. It's never interfered in any given task, but now as I go into the second week of Nursing 1, the questions arises, "Can I actually become a nurse?" Everything in my heart and soul is telling me "yes" but obviously I'm scared and nervous. I only wish to succeed and master all the skills necessary to achieve my goals!

Angelica also sent me the following videos of "Donning and removal of PPE". In one video she is practicing skills at home and in another one she is practicing in the car while her girls are in math tutoring!

In my view.....she's got this one!!!!!!!!

Love to read your thoughts.

With thanks,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nurses who are d/Deaf: Breaking boundaries and changing perceptions

Helen Cherry

The Royal College of Nursing's magazine reported on the experiences of nurses
 in the United Kingdom who are d/deaf. Helen Cherry was included in the article. 

In 1977, Helen Cherry became one of the first deaf people to begin nurse training. Helen has severe to profound deafness, meaning that she has little to no hearing without the benefit of hearing aids.... 
Helen's career flourished and in the late 80s she followed a lifelong dream to travel, moving overseas to work firstly in Australia and then India in early HIV/AIDS projects. One of the many roles she undertook was heading up a team in Tasmania that was tracing haemophiliacs who had unknowingly contracted HIV through infected blood. She went on to present a paper on integrated patient care between Volunteer HIV/AIDS services and Royal District Nurses services at the 4th international AIDS conference in Canberra.

“Being deaf didn't stop me from my ambition to work overseas and experience more of the world. I hope my experiences will encourage other D/deaf nurses to realise what they can achieve”.

Helen is currently working in education, co-facilitating sessions in health and social care at London Southbank University’s innovative People’s Academy. “I think people with diverse disabilities bring a wealth of their own experience to nursing”.

Jackie Wan who is a Deaf community nurse who works within the Deaf Adult Community Team (DACT) at Springfield University Hospital, which provides inpatient and outpatient mental health services to D/deaf children and adults... 

In 2016, Jackie won the Best Deaf Role Model award for her work supporting D/deaf people and being a leading example of what D/deaf people can achieve.

Read more about Helen, Jackie and other d/deaf nurses who are breaking down boundaries and changing perceptions!




Monday, December 18, 2017

Self defense and responsible gun ownership for a nurse amputee

Carolyn McKinzie, LPN

It’s been a little more than 16 years since I lost my right lower leg following a car accident.  I didn’t lose it right away. I went through numerous surgeries over the next 2 years. Sadly, it never healed solid the way I had hoped.  I was 32 when I was injured and 35 when I had my leg amputated.  Fortunately for me, I’ve always been fairly independent so I’ve done very well over the years in keeping and maintaining a home by myself.

I’ve been able to work part-time, off and on at various jobs in health care.  My primary role has been that of an LPN, but after my accident I soon learned that working full time in an LPN job wouldn’t be a realistic goal.  I did great with my prosthesis, but I  wasn’t able to work a full shift on my feet. I had some jobs that were great and some I failed at miserably---but I continue to try to do the work I love!

I’ve been single for a lot of years and grown accustomed to dealing with things alone, but recently I started thinking about my own personal safety and how I would protect myself in a dangerous, life-threatening situation.  

It didn’t just come into my head out of the blue.

I moved into a small house in the country, located on a dead-end road.  There were neighbors across the road but at such a distance I could barely see them moving around outside.  The next closest house was hidden by a line of thick pine trees.  I loved the privacy and the quiet area and felt lucky to have come across such a great rental opportunity. Initially, the landlord was very kind, but not long after I moved in he did something that I really took offense to.  He was so proud of himself when he told me that he had touched base with 3 of the nearest neighbors and let them know there was a single, disabled woman renting his house.

I was instantly and totally angry at him.  I told him the last thing I needed was for word to get around that there was a helpless female living there and I didn’t appreciate him setting me up for a bad situation that could potentially be a detriment to my own personal safety and well-being.  I was very unnerved that he had spewed my story to people I didn’t even know. 

I don’t think I ever considered my vulnerability as a disabled woman until that day.  I didn’t like the feeling at all.

After that, I found myself being spooked by every little sound I heard after getting into bed at night.  I sleep with my prosthetic leg off and I’m medicated so I don’t have phantom pain in my sleep.  I felt like a sitting duck and knew if there was to ever be a home invasion, burglary or other intrusive scenario I would be helpless to protect myself and at the mercy of whomever might strike in the darkness.

When I was a kid, my dad and brother hunted and had guns that were kept in a locked gun cabinet.  I didn’t really have an interest in firearms, I think primarily because that was a “guy thing” when I was growing up in the 70’s. 

Fortunately for me, I have a friend who was in the military and has a concealed carry permit.  He carries his gun everywhere it is allowed but mainly has it for home protection.  He encouraged me to arm myself, but I knew nothing about guns and felt I would be a bigger danger to myself than to anyone else.  My friend took it upon himself to educate me about handguns, signed me up for a gun safety class and helped me to buy a 9mm handgun.

I completed the NRA endorsed safety class in a day. I was very nervous about actually shooting the gun because I had no idea how much kick there would be and/or if it would be enough to make me lose my balance and fall.  At the end of the class, we went out to the shooting range and fired a dozen shots at various targets. Thankfully, the kick from shooting wasn’t nearly as strong as I feared it might be so I never lost my balance. I hit bullseyes from 30 feet. I give credit for that to the red dot laser that came on my gun when I bought it.  I hope I will never need to fire at a person that far away; I got it for self-protection at night when I am least able to defend myself.

When I got my certificate in my hand, I realized what a huge step I had taken……it made me feel safe and empowered.  I didn’t feel like the sitting duck as I had before.  

I think single women always have some amount of worry when living alone, as far as having to possibly deal with an intruder in their home.  But when you have a physical impairment, the worry is even greater.  Just being ready was a victory for me!

I’m very fortunate to live in Maine where the overall crime rate is low in comparison to other states in New England.  But drug use here is high and many drug users will do anything they can to obtain drugs, money or property to sell for cash.  This includes home invasions.  In a 2015 report published on the Disabled World website (www.disabled-world.com), it states the disabled and elderly people are the easiest targets for victimizing, since they are often unable to retreat from any type of “attack”.  A firearm is the best defense, provided the user has been properly trained and is proficient with its use.  Otherwise, there is a significant chance of their gun being used AGAINST them.

Gun ownership may not be the best option for everyone with a disability, but self-defense training is important for all. For information on safety training for individuals with disabilities and persons needing adaptive shooting solutions, visit the NRA’s Adaptive Shooting Program website at www.adaptiveshooting.nra.org Self defense classes are also offered by colleges, police departments, nonprofit organizations, martial arts businesses and local municipalities.

Carolyn McKinzie, the Amputee Nurse Consultant, can be reached at: https://www.facebook.com/AmputeeNurseConsultant/ or blueeyedlady1101@yahoo.com