Registered Nurses With Disabilities: Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Registered Nurses With Disabilities: Legal Rights and Responsibilities
Leslie Neal-Boylan, PhD, APRN, CRRN, FAAN
& Michelle D. Miller, JD, MPH, RN

Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this legal case review and analysis was to determine what kinds of cases involving nurses with disabilities are typically brought to attorneys, which cases tend to be successful, and how and when a nurse with a disability should pursue legal action.

Design
The review u sed the standard legal case analysis method to analyze legal cases that have been brought by registered nurses (RNs) with physical or sensory disabilities from 1995 to 2013. The cases span the period following the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 through the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

Methods

A nurse attorney reviewed the background material to find every case involving an RN with a disability, excluding those with mental health disabilities or substance abuse issues. Case analysis was conducted using standard legal case analysis procedures. Fifty-six cases were analyzed.

Findings
The cases were categorized into five types of legal claims: (a) disability discrimination (84%); (b) failure to accommodate (46%); (c) retaliation (12.5%); (d) association (3.6%); and (e) hostile work environment (7%). The cases were largely unsuccessful, particularly those brought under the ADA instead of the ADAAA.

Conclusions

The case analysis revealed that several cases brought by RNs with disabilities using the ADA might have been successful under the ADAAA. In addition, the case analysis has provided vital information for administrators, leaders, and clinical nurses regarding when a case is appropriate for legal action. These findings from this review will help nurses recognize when they are being treated in a discriminatory way in the workplace, what their legal rights and responsibilities are, and at what point they should pursue legal action.

Clinical Relevance
This review has relevance to all RNs working in clinical and academic settings who may have a congenital or acquired physical or sensory disability.

The Voice of Disability in Nursing

The Voice of Disability in Nursing
by Holly Clayton, RN, MSN
New Hampshire Nursing News
www.NHNurses.org

Recently, I represented NHNA in a monthly American Nurses Association’s Nursing Practice & Work Environment (NP&WE) conference call. With the goal of “promoting the health, safety, and wellness of the nurse and the nursing profession,” this call served to educate and disseminate information of interest to nurses. ANA members included Marie Barry, MSN, Senior Policy Analyst; Holly Carpenter, Senior Staff Specialist; Jaime Dawson, MPH, Senior Policy Analyst and Ruth Francis, MPH, MCHES, Sr. Administrative Assistant. Current projects of the ANA NP&WE include HealthyNurseTM, Safe Patient Handling and Mobility, Fatigue, Safe Staffing and Care Coordination.

Physical Limits on CPR Quality and Methods for Quality Improvement

Physical Limits on CPR Quality and Methods for Quality Improvement

This is interesting research suggesting that many people are not able to perform effective CPR because of the amount of force required. This researcher is working on this with the hope that the American Heart Association will start teaching people to do compressions with their foot, which is more effective and less exhausting. His data might be useful to someone with a disability who has been told that they cannot be a nurse without being certified in CPR.

Here’s a little more info if you’re interested:
http://www.slicc.org/ReSS_2013_030.pdf

Attitudes of staff nurse preceptors related to the education of nurses with learning disabilities in clinical settings

by L’Ecuyer, Kristine Marie, Ph.D., SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY, 2014, 212 pages; 3624082
Abstract:
This dissertation presents a quantitative study of the attitudes of staff nurse preceptors toward nursing students with learning disabilities. There are an increased number of nursing students with learning disabilities. These students may have additional challenges in clinical settings, particularly if clinical settings do not understand or support their educational needs. Stigma exists towards people with learning disabilities, and it is unclear if staff nurse preceptors are accepting of nursing students with learning disabilities and willing to serve as a preceptor.
Attitude was measured with the following four constructs developed for this study: perceived levels of preceptor preparedness, level of confidence in implementation of preceptor role, preceptor beliefs of student potential, and agreement with the provision of reasonable accommodations. These constructs were developed through a review of the literature and found to best represent the dynamic relationship between the preceptor and the preceptee.

Donna Smith: Disability Services Counselor Making a Difference

Donna_Smith
Donna Glass Smith is a Disability Services Counselor at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). She is assigned to the Medical Education Campus in Springfield, Virginia. With the continued growth in enrollment of students with disabilities in postsecondary institutions, Ms. Smith believe that it is important for educators to champion efforts that will enhance learning environments for nursing students with disabilities.

In her job, she assists students, faculty, and administration in examining and addressing barriers to student success. Donna Smith is a 2008 graduate of The University of Alabama, with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Prior to earning her master’s degree, she worked in retail operations management for ten years for Walgreens and Staples. As a store manager, she often hired and made accommodations for employees with disabilities. Having grown up with an older brother who is deaf, she understood the role of vocational rehabilitation and the struggles of adults with disabilities seeking employment. After graduating with her master’s degree, she’s worked at the Office of Disability Services at The University of Alabama and is currently a Disability Services Counselor for Northern Virginia Community College, Medical Education Campus in Springfield, Virginia. She’s currently working on the completion of her Ed.S. Degree in Counselor Education and she enjoys hiking and reading and writing fiction. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with 2 dogs, 3 birds, and one hamster.

EEOC Settles with Hospital that Refused Job Accommodation for Nurse with Cancer

Angel Medical Center to Pay $85,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit with Angel Medical Center, Inc. of Franklin, NC. The hospital was charged with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying an employee an accommodation that would have allowed her to get cancer treatments while working full time. The hospital allegedly refused the accommodation request and then fired the nurse.

To learn more about the ADA and other laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities read “Disability.gov’s Guide to Disability Rights Laws.”

Disability Rights and Accommodations: Setting A Standard of Care

APHA 2014 Poster Presentation

Tanya Friese, DNP(c), RN, CNL, Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, IL
Shelia Dugan, MD , Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
Sarah Ailey, PhD, RN, CDDN, APHN-BC , College of Nursing, Community, Systems and Mental Health Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL
Paula Brown, MBA , Office for Equal Opportunity, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL

Background: 
In 1991, Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) chartered the ADA Task Force with a charge to implement policies for individuals with disabilities, champion inclusion, and educate people on how working with and hiring persons with disabilities enriches our global village.
Methods: 
The Task Force meets monthly with members including administrators, staff, faculty, and inter professional students.  Purposefully the task force includes decision makers in human resources, patient services, transportation, building and maintenance, and curriculum, among others, in order to facilitate implementation of solutions to issues with access, discrimination, and accommodation.

Standardized Patients with Disabilities' Perceptions of Working with Undergraduate Nursing Students

APHA 2014 Poster Presentation

Suzanne C. Smeltzer, RN, EdD, FAAN, College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Bette Mariani, PhD, RN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Elizabeth Petit de Mange, PhD, RN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Colleen Meakim, RN, MSN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova
Jennifer Ross, RN, PhD , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova
Elizabeth Bruderle, RN, PhD , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Serah Nthenge, RN, MSN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

The use of standardized patients (SPs) with disabilities is largely unknown in nursing education. Anecdotal reports have suggested that use of SPs with disabilities is coercive and takes advantage of this “vulnerable population.” After two years of having SPs with disabilities interacting with undergraduate nursing students, we assessed the perceptions of SPs with disabilities and strategies to improve the experience through a qualitative study. A focus group and one phone interview were conducted with nine SPs with disabilities including post polio syndrome, spina bifida, stroke and amputation; their ages ranged from 32 to 82. Following IRB approval, SPs were asked about their motivation to participate, positive and negative experiences as SPs, and what could be improved about the experience.

Content analysis revealed themes: