As an avid climber, crawling high into trees didn’t seem like such a risky proposition to Michelle Kephart, RN, MSN. However, midway through her nursing program, Kephart fell 25 feet from a tree, injuring her spinal cord. Returning to nursing school amid skepticism from the faculty, and with no idea how her quadriplegia would impact her education, Kephart found the support she needed in the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND).
End the Disability Debate in Nursing: Quality Care is Fact
By Leslie Neal-Boylan
Misconceptions abound regarding the abilities of people with disabilities and this holds true in the nursing profession, as well. While nurses with experience and expertise are often denied jobs or lose their jobs because of a physical disability, research shows appropriate accommodations can be made to retain these highly skilled and much-needed health care professionals.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees as well as state and local government employers of the same size. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act provides the same protections for federal employees and applicants for federal employment.
The ADA protects a qualified individual with a disability from disparate treatment or harassment based on disability, and also provides that, absent undue hardship, a qualified individual with a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation to perform, or apply for, a job or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment. The ADA also includes rules regarding when, and to what extent, employers may seek medical information from applicants or employees. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA. Most states also have their own laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Some of these laws may apply to smaller employers and provide protections in addition to those available under the ADA.
Health care is the largest industry in the American economy, and has a high incidence of occupational injury and illness. Though they are “committed to promoting health through treatment and care for the sick and injured, health care workers, ironically, confront perhaps a greater range of significant workplace hazards than workers in any other sector.” Health care jobs often involve potential exposure to airborne and bloodborne infectious disease, sharps injuries, and other dangers; many health care jobs can also be physically demanding and mentally stressful. Moreover, health care workers with occupational or non-occupational illness or injury may face unique challenges because of societal misperceptions that qualified health care providers must themselves be free from any physical or mental impairment.[5
Several Million Healthcare Workers Needed by 2020
Regardless of the fate of the Affordable Care Act, the United States will need 5.6 million new healthcare workers by 2020, according to a study.
The study, by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce, also found that 4.6 million of those new workers will need education beyond high school.
“In healthcare, there are really two labor markets — professional and support,” Anthony P. Carnevale, the report’s lead author and director of the Center on Education and Workforce, said in a news release. “Professional jobs demand postsecondary training and advanced degrees, while support jobs demand high school and some colleges.”
There is “minimal mobility” between the two, Carnevale said, “and the pay gap is enormous — the average professional worker makes 2.5 times as much as the average support worker.”
Among the study’s findings:
- In 2008, 80% of entry-level RNs had at least an associate’s degree, up from 37% in 1980.
- Rising degree requirements in nursing may be crowding out disadvantaged minorities, according to the authors: 51% of white nurses under age 40 have bachelor’s degrees, compared with 46% of Hispanic nurses and 44% of African-American nurses.
- Healthcare has the largest number and proportion of foreign-born and foreign-trained workers of any industry in the U.S. Among healthcare workers, 22% are foreign-born, compared with 13% of all workers nationwide. Most foreign-born nurses come from the Philippines, India and China.
- Only 20% of healthcare professional and technical occupations earn less than $38,000 a year, and almost 50% earn more than $60,000.
- More than 70% of healthcare support workers make less than $30,000 per year, but that percentage is still better than most available alternatives for workers of that skill and education level, according to the report.
- Healthcare successfully competes for science and engineering talent. Because the healthcare, science and technology fields tend to require similar skills, healthcare programs at the associate and bachelor’s level often are appealing alternatives for science and engineering students.
- One difference between the fields: People in healthcare jobs tend to value forming social bonds, while people who gravitate to science, technology and engineering occupations place a greater emphasis on achievement and independence, the researchers found.
“What can YOU do?” Video Contest 2012 Winners Announced
Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE)
The Campaign for Disability Employment’s 2012 “What can YOU do?” Video Contest challenged the general public, youth, and employers to produce disability employment awareness videos that reflect the diversity of skills people with disabilities offer, challenge common misconceptions about disability and employment, and reinforce the “What can YOU do?” initiative’s core message that at work, it’s what people CAN do that matters. The CDE’s national “What can YOU do?” initiative reinforces that people with disabilities want to work and that their talents and abilities positively impact businesses both financially and organizationally.
Contest winners were selected in three categories; General Public, Youth, and Employer. Judging was based on originality, content, reflection of campaign themes and categories, production value, impact, and accessibility. Three first place winners—one in each of the General Public, Youth, and Employer categories—will receive an *Apple® iPad®, while two runners-up each will receive $250.00, courtesy of the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN®). Winning videos will now be used in support of the CDE’s national effort to increase the employment of people with disabilities.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2011
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
Karen J. McCulloh, Appointee for Member, Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled
Karen J. McCulloh consults as a Diversity and Inclusion Specialist with businesses and nonprofit organizations to educate on the inclusion of people with disabilities into the labor force. Ms. McCulloh was the founding Executive Director of disabilityworks, a project of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, from 2005 until 2010. Ms. McCulloh was appointed by the Secretary of Labor to sit on the Job Corps Advisory Committee from 2006 until 2008, and she served as Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Disability. In 2003, Ms. McCulloh co-founded the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities, served as President from 2003 to 2005, and is now serving as the Immediate Past President. Ms. McCulloh also served as the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago. She was in charge of the agency review for the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled for the Obama-Biden Transition Team in 2008. Ms. McCulloh received an RN from the Grant Hospital School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and a B.S. from Loyola University of Chicago.
Like Missing an Arm Should Stop Me Being a Nurse!
by Liz Perkins ABD, RNMH
When I left high school I was like so many others – unsure of what I really wanted to be when I grew up. All through my school years I had never felt any different from my peers. But I was different – I was a congenital amputee – I had no right arm save about six inches from the shoulder down. My nick-name was the one-armed bandit – not very original, but having grown up and gone through school with the same group of friends my disability really was a non-issue. Furthermore, prosthetic arms were merely an annoyance to me, I much preferred having the use of my “little arm” as I always referred to it. So anyway – I was one of those kids who really enjoyed school – I was a bright student and did well in sports too. I played for my school teams in hockey, rounders (similar to softball), netball (like basketball), and my strong left arm meant that I was pretty good at all throwing events in athletics!
The Changes Life Brings!
by Tewanna R. Cleveland Johnson, R.N.
Growing up in a small country town, as a military dependent, I loved children. I did not have to hold down a job because I babysat a lot. By my sophomore year in high school, I decided to become a nurse. I loved learning about the body and the way it works. I was a healthy, active, young person. I loved to play soccer and basketball. In school, I was an above average student.
In a few months, the newest doctor – and one of the first doctors of her kind in the nation – will hang her shingle in the Portland, Oregon area. Chris L. Cooke will become one of the first totally blind doctors in the US with a specialty in naturopathic medicine.
The new Dr. Cooke, blind since birth, will carry the usual medical instruments in her black bag, including a blood pressure cuff, a thermometer, and a Pocket PC crammed with medical references – a tool most modern doctors rely on to help with diagnosis, prescribing the right medicine, and ordering and interpreting lab work. The difference is her tools of the trade will talk. In fact, in large part, she credits her ability to be a good doctor to a PAC Mate™ accessible Pocket PC for the blind and two Oregon men who made medical reference software accessible to the visually impaired, using the PAC Mate.
This documentary film produced by Bronwynne Evans, RN, PhD and Beth Marks, RN, PhD chronicles the experience of a nursing student who entered a baccalaureate program using a wheelchair. The 23 minute film provides a forum for the voices of nursing students, faculty, administrators, and agency nursing staff to discuss trials and triumphs encountered during this experience. It is a real life example of the exploration of roles and responsibilities in nursing education, experiential learning, shifting perspectives, and being a part of old ways turning into new ways in the world of nursing.
Watch on YouTube.