Monday, July 27, 2015

Helping nursing students with disabilities in "emergency" situations

          As an advocate for nurses and nursing students with disabilities, I often hear from nursing students who see their situation as an “emergency”! Not a life and death emergency as we typically think of it, but for many their situation is perceived to be an emergency.

So, what type of situations?

A nursing student with hearing loss is counseled by his or her clinical instructor regarding performance of a nursing skill.

A nursing student with a learning disability receives a notice of being in danger of failing a course due to weak APA and writing skills.

A nursing student with dyscalculia is taking the math/medication calculation test for the second time. Students are only allowed two attempts.  

In the nursing lab, a nursing student missing her left hand is unable to catheterize using appropriate technique.

A nursing student with short stature is unsuccessful performing CPR in a classroom setting.
                                                  What do I say?

In most situations, my best advice is to breathe and breathe again!

Eat a healthy snack or meal.


Get some exercise and a good night’s sleep.


                                                 Then take action!

Remember the question “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

The answer is "Practice"!

Get back to the nursing lab as soon as possible and practice, practice and practice again.

Contact the college or university learning or writing center. Sign up for a writing or math tutor.

Practice using breathing and relaxation techniques.

Make an appointment to meet privately with your nursing instructor.

Visit the Disabilities Services Office as soon as possible.

Join a study group and buy review books.

Get connected with other nurses, nursing students and mentors with similar challenges through the non-profit organization

Join the Exceptional Nurse group on Facebook.

Read all you can about other nurses and students with similar issues. Identify what worked for them.

Remember that most nursing students struggle with something. You are not alone. Learning new skills can take time and practice!  


Good Luck!

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