Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Breaking it down" for nursing students with learning disabilities



   Breaking a task down into micro-units, using prompts, and assistive technology can help all students. We all do this whether we realize it or not (Brandt and Alwin, 2012; Kolanko, 2003). As nurses we develop sliding scale charts for delivering different dosages of IV medications, write laboratory results on our hands, and enter prompts into our iPods to be on time for medications and treatments (Kolanko, 2003; and McCleary-Jones, 2008).
     Understanding deficits in social processing or lack of social skill learning is more common in college students today. Developing a network of support is important to all students with disabilities. Students with LD tend to be individual rather than group learners. But this characteristic sometimes isolates the student. Finding ways to integrate them into study groups, peer tutoring, or group discussions may help to increase the comfort level of group work and as nurses with supportive staff (Brooke, 1999). The student feels at ease and can see the group as a support rather than a source of stress.
When students with LDs learn to micro-unit (break information down into its smallest units), use various learning strategies and are provided more time, they can see the relevance of these techniques for patient care. Nurses with LD are uniquely prepared to care for patients who have the same needs. Upon learning of their LD, students report reactions of grief and loss as they see themselves as a person with a disability and not “a normal person.” Helping them to self- advocate, learn success strategies, and referrals to specialists can support their needs. It should be emphasized that this is something they can help patients do for themselves as well (Kolanko, 2003). 

This information is an excerpt from a chapter commentary written by Katherine Kolanko, RN, PhD in "The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities". 
https://www.amazon.com/Exceptional-Nurse-trenches-resilient-disAbilities/dp/149540093X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473089785&sr=1-1&keywords=maheady

Please share your thoughts below.

With thanks,
Donna