Thursday, August 24, 2017

Transgender nurses and nursing students

Mohammed A Memon, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine reported for

"According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5),  for a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there must be a marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and his or her assigned (natal) gender, and it must continue for at least 6 months. In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. The condition must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

"Not all transgender people experience dysphoria, and some controversy exists among the medical community regarding the necessity of the psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Many transgender advocates believe that inclusion of this diagnosis increases awareness and helps advocate for health insurance that covers the medically necessary treatment recommended for transgender people."

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) explicitly excludes claims based on gender identity. However, a federal court for the first time has ruled transgender people can sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson, determined that a case filed by transgender plaintiff Kate Lynn Blatt filed against Cabela’s Retail, Inc., can proceed because she meets the conditions of the 1990 law. Gender dysphoria, a type of anxiety, was the basis for her claim under ADA.

“[I]t is fairly possible to interpret the term gender identity disorders narrowly to refer to simply the condition of identifying with a different gender, not to exclude from ADA coverage disabling conditions that persons who identify with a different gender may have — such as Blatt’s gender dysphoria, which substantially limits her major life activities of interacting with others, reproducing, and social and occupational functioning,” Leeson stated according to

Times have changed since passage of the ADA in 1990 and complicated questions surrounding disability issues related to employment of transgender nurses, as well as the education of transgender nursing students, are being asked. Links to related stories and more information are included below. 

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With thanks!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017 Scholarships awarded to nursing students with disabilities

         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, autism and chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and movement disorders.

Financing an education can be a challenge for some students with disabilities. In addition to routine expenses (tuition, room and board, books, uniforms, transportation), some students may need to purchase an amplified or electronic stethoscope, computer software programs, or audio books—as well as medications, hearing aids, therapies, prostheses, special equipment or custom alterations to uniforms and lab coats. Working a part-time job may not be possible.

Scholarships are available from, a nonprofit resource network for nursing students and nurses with disabilities. The organization provides links to disability-related organizations, technology, equipment, financial aid, employment opportunities, mentors, blogs, continuing education, a speaker’s bureau, legal resources, social media groups, research and related articles.

The organization has been awarding scholarships to nursing students with disabilities since 2003. The awards are based on academic performance, letters of recommendation, financial need and an essay which answers the questions: “How do you plan to contribute to the nursing profession? How will your disability influence your practice as a nurse”? The awards this year were $500.00. is honored to announce the winners for 2017!!!
Allison Winchell  from Newton, Iowa will be attending the Newton Campus of Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa.

Allison wrote, "When I was in the hospital that long scary month I remember how amazing the nurses in that hospital were. Their eyes just glowed with kindness and the desire to be a blessing to people in need. I want to become that kind of nurse."

Jonathan Louwsma from Imlay City, MI will be attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.

Jonathan stated, "Sometimes I feel, my "disability" has given me my "ability" to focus on my strengths and to perfect these areas. I know that I can be a positive example and inspiration for my patients.."

Mikayla Magna from Hawthorne, New Jersey will be attending Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Mikayla wrote: "Learning different from everyone else always helps me keep a different outlook to all areas of life. I feel my journey will help me impact the life of my patients and will carry through in my care given to them."

Rachael Mahan from Roanoke, Texas will be attending Texas Woman's University.

Rachael shared, "Thanks to the obstacles and disabilities that I have overcome in my short life, I have the drive necessary to do the best for my patients and their families."

Jamie Anderson from Cliffside Park, New Jersey is attending Ramapo College  of Nursing in New Jersey. 

Jamie stated,  "I would like to become an APN specializing in emergent care and trauma. I would like to join Doctors without Borders or the Peace Corps and help those in real need!"

Congratulations and best wishes to all!!!

The scholarship awards are funded through donations, grants and proceeds from book sales of “The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities”, “Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disabilities” and “Nursing students with disabilities change the course”. To make a donation, please visit

The scholarship application can be downloaded at

Appreciate your support!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Nurses who self harm

In 2016, Teris Cheung and Paul Yipp published the results of a study, "Self-harm in nurses: prevalence and correlates." The aim of the study was to examine the weighed prevalence of self-harm and its correlates among Hong Kong nurses. The background of the study included the following:

"Recent epidemiological data suggest that the weighted prevalence of past-year suicidality among Hong Kong nurses was found to be 14 9%. Deliberate self-harm was a significant correlate of suicidality. Nonetheless, there are few population-based studies exploring the prevalence of self-harm and its correlates among medical occupational groups in Asia."

"The study used a cross-sectional survey design. Data were collected in Hong Kong over a four-week period from October–November 2013. Statistical methods, including binary and multivariate logistic regression models, were used to examine the weighted prevalence of selfharm and its associated factors in nurses."

"A total of 850 nurses participated in the study.  Seventy-nine participants (9 3%) reported self-harm in the past year. Nurses aged between 25-44 were at especially high risk of self-harm. Female nurses reported self-harm more than male nurses. The most common forms of self-harm were self-cutting, striking oneself and poisoning oneself. Clinical experience, chronic illness, relationship crises with family members, a family history of self-harm, smoking, symptoms of stress and psychiatric disorder were significantly associated with nurses’ self-harm. The

positive correlation between psychiatric disorder and self-harm was confirmed." 

The researchers concluded that "there is a need for a raft of self-harm prevention strategies, including a continuous monitoring system in the healthcare setting detecting and managing

the risks of self-harm in nurses as part of the ordinary provision for their well-being."

The complete results of the study can be read by clicking on the link below.

Cheung T.Yip P.S.F. (2016) Self-harm in nurses: prevalence and correlates. Journal of Advanced Nursing 72(9), 21242137. doi: 10.1111/jan.12987

Please feel free to leave a comment.

With thanks,


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Medical and recreational cannibus use by nurses and nursing students with disabilities

Questions have been asked regarding the implications of medical marijuana use by nurses or nursing students with disabilities. An article published by, "Marijuana and Your Job: What You Need to Know" by Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD, a healthcare attorney, is important reading. 

Ms. Bupert responded to this question, "Can I be fired for using marijuana at home or for using recreational marijuana on my day off, when recreational use is legal in my state?" 

"The take-home message for nurses (and all healthcare professionals) is: If you want to protect your career, don't use marijuana recreationally, even if it is legal in your state and even if you use on your own time and off premises. It is still illegal under federal law. If you decide to take a legal risk and partake in marijuana, don't do so for at least a month before you will be working. Employers don't all conduct random drug tests, but some do, and sometimes nurses are included in widespread drug testing, even if the individual nurse has not been accused of being impaired. It is so much easier to prevent this legal problem than to deal with it after being fired."
"Furthermore, we don't know how Boards of Nursing stand on the 
issue. Nurses have reported that they have lost their licenses 
and/or been referred to impaired nurse programs for testing 
positive for marijuana. We don't know how every Board of Nursing 
would act on any given day, but at minimum, a firing would lead to 
a report to the Board of Nursing, and then the burden is on the 
nurse to prove he or she was not impaired at work. That, too, is 
more easily prevented than dealt with after the nurse is reported."

Nurses and nursing students should continue to keep a careful eye on the current legal implications surrounding use of medical or recreational cannibus. 

The complete article published on Medscape and other information can be found below.