Can nursing schools kick out students who are overweight?

  1. hi,

    this happened in my institution. an overweight student wanted to study for RN. but at the end of her 1st year she got kicked out. the reason turned out to be that she's overweight and they think she will not be able to function as a nurse. so they told her to lose weight and try again. she went to court and the newpapers and in the end, she lost maybe 5 kg and the courts ruled she should be allowed to study RN despite her weight. she's actually about 15-20kg overweight for her height.

    i wonder if this happens else where? my institution is a very horrible place... they eat their young...
    •  
  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   RN BSN 2009
    I dont know what happens down under but that would send out shockwaves here.
  4. by   smk1
    Mybe she was having difficulty functioning in clinical?
  5. by   shock-me-sane
    Are you serious?

    The only way I could see that happening is if her weight was making her unable to perform functions necessary to pass skills and such. So it wouldn't be that her weight was the problem per se, but rather her ability to perform tasks.

    Why would the school say it is due to weight????? Here that is asking for a lawsuit. Discrimination much?
  6. by   justme1972
    We actually have one student in our class that many are wondering how she is going to finish the program that is significantly overweight, almost beyond what anyone should be.

    She struggles even to walk to class, and when we were doing bedmaking skills, b/c of the weight in front, she could barely reach to the other side of the patient and was covered in sweat when she was done.

    I almost refuse to believe that anyone can eat themselves into that state...genetics have to play a huge role, however, I cannot imagine her having to go full-speed for an 8 hour clinical. It's just difficult to watch.
  7. by   caliotter3
    In my class, we had an individual who was huge. Definitely morbidly obese. She managed to get pregnant with number 7 toward the end of the program. I don't remember ever hearing a derogatory remark about her. As a matter of fact, she was one of those who fell into the "fair haired" category of students. She had an advanced degree from an Ivy League school, her family was well to do, and I believe her father was a doctor, but I'm not sure. She definitely connected well with the faculty. Nonetheless, she looked horrid waddling around, before and during pregnancy.
  8. by   twinmommy+2
    Quote from veritas
    hi,

    this happened in my institution. an overweight student wanted to study for RN. but at the end of her 1st year she got kicked out. the reason turned out to be that she's overweight and they think she will not be able to function as a nurse. so they told her to lose weight and try again. she went to court and the newpapers and in the end, she lost maybe 5 kg and the courts ruled she should be allowed to study RN despite her weight. she's actually about 15-20kg overweight for her height.

    i wonder if this happens else where? my institution is a very horrible place... they eat their young...

    only 20kg over weight? They'd have to kick me out too along with a good portion of the class I was with.
  9. by   Sabby_NC
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm is there more to this story than just the poor woman's weight?
  10. by   cmo421
    I could be wrong, but I think this did happen in the US a few years back . The nurse was large and kicked out of school. She went to court and was reinstated with damages. In fact it might have been in RI. I have worked with nurses of all sizes. Rarely an issue. When it has been an issue,say to travel with an ICU pt with lots of stuff and heavy bed,staff helped out. I actually worked with a nurse who was so large her knees started to go, she used a chair on wheels to support herself going room to room. It was an ICU ,so not much walking ,but was still scary at times. She was finally asked to take a leave and returned after about 6 mths. She had lost weight and was walking better.
    I actually think it takes great courage and stamina for a larger person to take on the tasks nurses have to take on.
  11. by   MikeyJ
    Only 20 kg overweight? I wouldn't think that would significantly hinder her from practicing as a nurse. Morbidly obese nurses/doctors definitely have a much more difficult time practicing. There is a morbidly obese resident where I currently do my clinical rotations and I feel so bad for him. He can barely walk a few feet before he has to sit down and rest. I am not sure how he is handling the busy 80-hour work week as a resident.
  12. by   Meriwhen
    I think as long as she can demonstrate ability to perform her clinical duties and pass those tests, they don't have valid grounds to kick her out.

    But if she can't perform or pass her practical/clinical skills, then IMO she shouldn't be treated any differently than anyone else who failed those tests.
  13. by   veritas
    i haven't heard of any more such incidents other than from my institution. my institution is really bad. the faculty are very judgmental and constantly abuse their power. the girl had no issues walking or moving or anything. but with obese people, naturally they will have issues with speed of walking and bending over issues... i think they tried to use that against her, saying she can't bend and reach the floor, etc... she's a really nice person and this incident really damaged her confidence. i think faculty have too much power these days and they like to abuse it. they do not consider the consequences of their decisions on others' lives. so much for being "nurses". aren't nurses supposed to be compassionate, kind, etc? the staff in our institution have been out of clinical practice for almost 20 years on average... all they do is hang around universities pushing papers and flaunting their power... really sad... just becoz they have a "Dr" in front of their names now. amazingly those without "Dr" in front of their names seem to be less abusive. maybe the whole uni thing for nurses really is a bad idea... australia wants it reverted back to the apprenticeship system and skip the uni...
    Last edit by veritas on Oct 2, '07
  14. by   veritas
    maybe it's the faculty's idea of "tough love", but people shouldn't presume to manipulate others' futures or lives believing it is for their own good! it is very hurtful and traumatising to be thrown out of a tertiary institution like that. very embarrassing to go to court and be in the papers as well...

close