Faculty attitudes towards nursing students with disabilities in the clinical setting

Susan B. Prude, Rhonda K. Pecoraro, Dari K. Calamia, Eileen L. Creel


Objective: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore nursing faculty attitudes towards students with disabilities enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs. Additionally, we aimed to describe the types of accommodations provided to students with disabilities in the clinical setting.

Methods: In two institutions of higher education in the southeastern United States, purposive and snowball sampling was used to recruit 14 nursing faculty with experience teaching in clinical courses. One-on-one interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. Data were transcribed and analyzed using Colaizzi’s process for phenomenological data analysis. The social model of disability served as the conceptual framework for the study.

Results: Six themes emerged from the data analysis: ‘Math is a basic required skill,’ ‘You can’t just skip clinical,’ ‘It’s my job to help them learn,’ ‘I’m not prepared for this,’ ‘What type of job will they get,’ and ‘overcoming obstacles.’ Nursing faculty reported positive attitudes towards students with disabilities, but also voiced concerns about patient safety and the ability for a student with a disability to find success. Several barriers including disclosure, lack of accessibility in hospitals, nursing culture, and faculty workload were identified.

Conclusions: A lack of clear policies and guidelines leaves nursing faculty unsure of what accommodations are appropriate for students with disabilities and how to implement accommodations in clinical courses. The study demonstrates a need for continuing education regarding teaching methodologies that are effective and meaningful for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diagnosed anxiety, and specific learning disabilities. Further research is warranted to identify appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities in the clinical setting.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v11n9p52

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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