Welcome to the Exceptional Nurse Blog! I am Donna Maheady, EdD, ARNP, founder of www.ExceptionalNurse.com, the nonprofit resource committed to inclusion of people with disabilities in nursing. We facilitate inclusion of students with disabilities in nursing education programs and foster resilience and continued practice for nurses who are, or become, disabled. We celebrate abilities, share resources and examples of nurses with disabilities who work with and without accommodations.
Hard of hearing nursing student wins case against college
On 12.8.15, the National Association for the Deaf announced the following:
"Toledo, Ohio– A federal judge has entered judgment against Terra State Community College in a case alleging that the College discriminated against a former nursing student Shirley Parrott-Copus in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Order requires the College to pay $75,000.00 to the former student, Shirley Parrott-Copus.
Parrott-Copus, who is hard of hearing, had more than 14 years of experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse when she earned admission to Terra State Community College’s Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse Program on the basis of her strong academic record and work experience. However, soon after her admission, the College required her to prove she could hear or be dismissed from the nursing program. Despite Ms. Parrott-Copus' excellent track record, the school also refused to consider auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication and ultimately dismissed Parrott-Copus from the program because of her disability.
Yesterday’s entry of judgment against the College ends the federal lawsuit and clears the way for Parrott- Copus to pursue her dreams of earning an advanced nursing degree.
Parrott-Copus, who has a deep passion for the nursing profession commented, “What matters is that a nurse is committed, skilled, passionate, and caring. As one of many deaf and hard of hearing nurses, I am thrilled that the Court has entered judgment against Terra State Community College. Whether a nurse can hear or not has nothing to do with whether they can make a difference in the world for their patients.”
"The NAD commends Ms. Parrott-Copus for standing up for her rights as a hard of hearing individual to pursue her dream of being a Registered Nurse,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD Chief Executive Officer. “Today's court judgment puts nursing schools nationwide on notice that deaf and hard of hearing individuals are qualified to be nurses, and refusing admission to them violates federal law."
One of the attorneys for Parrott-Copus, Mary Vargas, said, “There are extraordinary medical and nursing professionals throughout the United States who are deaf and hard of hearing. These doctors and nurses have much to offer and must be judged on the basis of their abilities, not on the basis of outdated stereotypes.”
Parrott-Copus is represented by the National Association of the Deaf, the law firm of Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC, and the law firm of Stein & Vargas, LLP."
Appreciate hearing your thoughts about this case. With thanks, Donna