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Educating Nursing Students with Disabilities: Replacing Essential Functions with Technical Standards for Program Entry Criteria

Susan B. Matt, Donna Maheady, Susan E. Fleming,

Academic Literature

2015

Across the globe, students with disabilities have been increasing in prevalence in higher education settings. In the twenty-first century the struggle to include individuals with disabilities into nursing schools and workplaces continues in different parts of the world. Historically, entry criteria in nursing schools have been based on essential functions, which were primarily designed to be used in the workforce, rather than technical standards for education. In other health professions, such as medicine, this is not necessarily the case. For example, the American Association of Medical Colleges has worked over the past two decades to develop appreciation among medical schools for the need to admit and accommodate students with disabilities. We argue that nursing has not followed suit. This paper presents an integrative literature review, consisting of material from the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, and Australia, investigating compelling stories, legal mandates, websites, and extant literature looking at essential functions or technical standards as entry criteria for nursing schools. The results show that, when essential functions for employment are used in nursing education, they may be a barrier to entry into that program. The paper concludes with recommendations for well-defined technical standards for nursing schools to be used primarily as entry criteria. (As Provided)

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability

Domain/s: Education

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