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.
Imagine how many nurses worked through the storm. Were they injured? Did they suffer from PTSD? Did they receive mental health counseling following the storm? Margot Withrow and John Owen share vivid details of working through the storm.
Moving forward with a disability: Returning to work as a nurse after an amputation
Carolyn McKinzie returned to work as a nurse following a below the knee amputation. Her journey and suggestions for other similarly situated nurses are included in a series of blog posts.http://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com/2016/06/moving-forward-with-disability.html
A message for nurses with disabilities from Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist
Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about how his colleagues and co-workers with ADD, dyslexia and autism spectrum disorder cope with not being what some people consider "normal".
Libby Sanders is a nurse in Jasper, Indiana. Earlier this year, she lost her left pinky finger after a freak accident with a screen door. Since the accident she was a little self-conscious about the missing finger.
Nursing students with a wide range of disabilities are increasing in number every year. Disabilities may include hearing loss, low vision, learning disabilities, limb differences, paralysis, mental illness and chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and movement disorders.
http://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com/2016/07/nursing-students-with-disabilities.html Will President-elect Donald Trump support nurses with disabilities?
So much has been said and predicted about a Donald Trump presidency. Can we turn our attention to nurses? And, specifically nurses and nursing students with disabilities?
experiences of students with hearing loss can vary significantly among
individuals. A number of personal and environmental factors will have an impact
on how the student learns and how he or she interacts with instructors, peers,
and patients. Other factors include degree of hearing loss, age of onset of
hearing loss, and educational background. Ambient noise levels, room acoustics,
and lighting also can have a significant impact on how well communication might
flow between a health care provider and a patient. In many settings, simple
changes can be made that may benefit more than just one person. Using the
principles of universal design, adding visual signals such as flashing lights
in addition to auditory signals can alert any member of the staff. Using pagers
is a common way of communicating, and it creates a more accessible work
environment for everyone.
who need additional visual cues for classroom access may request speech-to-text
services, sign language interpreters, or oral interpreters. Speech-to-text
service providers (often referred to as a captioner or transcriber) use
specialized software and a display device to provide a text format of the
lecture and discussion. Students who use sign language interpreters should
discuss the preferred mode of communication (e.g., use of American Sign
Language or use of Contact Sign), review terminology, and establish what signs
could be used to express specific concepts for each class. Students with strong
speech reading skills may request an oral interpreter. An oral interpreter will
present on the lips and face what is being said during the conversation or
Many students use personal hearing aids to
understand speech and detect environmental cues. Although hearing aid
technology has improved tremendously over the past few decades, there are
limitations to how strong the signal might be. Older analog hearing aids tend
to amplify all sounds, making it difficult to separate background noise from
speech; the sound produced by newer digital hearing aids is clearer and has
reduced distortion and internal noise. High-end digital hearing aids may also
be programmed for different listening situations. Purchasing and maintaining a
personal hearing aid is the student’s responsibility. Assistive listening
devices (ALD) amplify the speaker’s voice and reduce the influence of
background noise. Commonly used ALDs include FM systems, infrared systems, and
electromagnetic induction loop systems. Because an ALD might be used by several
different students, this equipment is generally purchased and maintained by the
In the college environment, students who
are deaf or hard of hearing are strongly encouraged to take an active role in
planning their communication access services. Discussions with the staff in the
disability services office can be helpful prior to the start of a new term,
especially when the student’s course load includes laboratory work or clinical
assignments. Service providers, such as interpreters or speech-to-text
providers, may need to prepare for the terminology used in the classes or work
with the student to determine the best sight lines to see the access service,
the instructor, and any visual course materials used. In clinical settings, students will be
expected to identify heart, lung, and bowel sounds; communicate in settings in
which surgical masks are used; and communicate with patients in a clinical
setting or on the telephone. Students with hearing loss may not be able to
utilize a traditional acoustic stethoscope. Several amplified
stethoscope models are available, and students who benefit from hearing aids
are encouraged to work with faculty and their audiologist to determine a good
match. Technology such as text pagers and smartphones can be an effective
strategy for handling alerts and telephone messages. There are numerous materials available on
the PEPNet website that may provide a student with additional information: www.pepnet.org.
*Note: The PepNet website will close December 31, 2016 and transition to working with the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information is an excerpt from a chapter commentary written by Marcia
Kolvitz, PhD, Director of PEPNet-South at The University of Tennessee,
Knoxville in the book"The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities".To order a copy, visit: