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Preparing disabled students for professional practice: managing risk through a principles-based approach

Authors


Abstract

Aim

A discussion exploring the ways disabled students are managed in practice settings. It proposes and argues for morally and legally viable principles to guide risk assessment and inclusive decision-making in practice.

Background

Equality law means that universities are bound not to discriminate against students on the basis, amongst other things, of disability. As a consequence in the UK, there is a perceived increase in numbers of disabled people applying for and succeeding as health professionals. Whilst placement providers are equally obliged by the law to have inclusive policies, competing needs including patient safety, public confidence and professional regulations mean that adjustments that can be made in an educational environment to appropriately support student learning may prove to be more difficult in placements that provide direct care to the public.

Data Sources

This discussion is an outcome of recommendations from published research by the authors and their research partners. It is supported by related literature, critical debate amongst academics, disabled students and disabled and non-disabled practitioners.

Implications for Nursing

Ensuring a nursing workforce that mirrors the diversity of the population it serves is of universal importance. Effective management of disabled students can contribute to achieving this goal and to promoting a positive view of disabled practitioners.

Conclusion

Legislation is necessary to protect disabled people from discrimination. To respect this legislation, when preparing nurses and other health professions, a clear understanding of the law and a principles-based approach to guiding risk is important.

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