Learning Disabled Students

  1. I'm in nursing school and recently found out that 2 students in my class are "Learning Disabled", meaning, they are allowed extra time to complete the tests, they receive extra help from instructors, and they are allowed to use calculators when the rest of us aren't.

    This really bothers me because in my mind, if you can't do the work, you shouldn't be in the program.

    I think it has something to do with Georgia Laws requiring help for those who are labeled "L.D".

    Personally, I don't want a "L.D." nurse caring for me if I'm a patient dealing with life and death!

    Has anyone else encountered this in nursing school? :uhoh21:
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  2. 65 Comments

  3. by   flytern
    Been there, done that. Had a male student (whose father was an MD) with a learning disability. He couldn't read well, so all books were put on tape, his tests were oral exams (he couldn't write very well either).

    Didn't seem very fair, considering part of nursing is reading/writing orders, clearly...
    Did make it through all clinicals, never knew if he passed boards. I sincerely
    hope not, for his own sake as well as his coworkers and patients. I never knew if he was held to the same standards as the rest of the class. You know, those 20 page care plans, the top 20 side effects of every drug you're giving.
    I did feel sorry for him because I don't think the instructors were being honest with him during clinicals/class. He just kept getting passed along from class to class, when it was apparent he wasn't up to the difficult task of nursing. So being a doctor's son didn't help him at all.
  4. by   KIAN
    I have a son who has a "learning disability". He is very compassionate and kind and has a great sense of humor. That being said, I do not see him as being capable of the quick critical thinking skills that are necessary to be a safe nurse or one I would want taking care of my family members. Of course, there are different levels of learning disabilities and you didn't say where your classmate was classified.
  5. by   CarVsTree
    dMarie,

    You've opened a very hot topic. I am ADD and believe it or not that is a "learning disability." I (not in my own words) am one of the best nurses on my floor.

    That being said, calculators (all nurses use calculators in real life - we don't rely on our own calculating ability and the possible errors our brains can make after being up for 24 horus). I have any drug calc I make verified by another nurse or pharmacy.

    Longer for tests - needing additional time to take a test, does not mean they will need additional time in real life situations. That remains to be seen.

    I wouldn't automatically right someone off for having an LD. I've seen many non-LD nurses that downright SCARE me.
  6. by   Sheri257
    The only thing the learning disabled students got in my class was extra test taking time. They didn't get to use calculators, and they got no extra help from the instructors in any way.

    But, I have a confession to make ... and I'm sure I'll get flamed for it but, I got myself declared learning disabled. Why?

    Because the instructors for the previous class ahead of us got PO'd about something that class did, and they prohibited tape recording of lectures. Tape recording, IMHO, is key to surviving nursing school.

    And they couldn't prohibit tape recording with learning disabled students. So, that's why I did it. As it turned out, they dropped the tape recording prohibition for our class anyway.

    For what it's worth ... the extra test taking time didn't make any difference in my scores. You either know it, or you don't.

    :typing
  7. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from dmarie (GA)
    I'm in nursing school and recently found out that 2 students in my class are "Learning Disabled", meaning, they are allowed extra time to complete the tests, they receive extra help from instructors, and they are allowed to use calculators when the rest of us aren't.

    This really bothers me because in my mind, if you can't do the work, you shouldn't be in the program.

    I think it has something to do with Georgia Laws requiring help for those who are labeled "L.D".

    Personally, I don't want a "L.D." nurse caring for me if I'm a patient dealing with life and death!

    Has anyone else encountered this in nursing school? :uhoh21:
    I'm trying to figure out why you phrase this as "learning disabled." First of all, these students have a learning disability. It sounds like because their disability isn't visible that you question its existence ("learning disabled"). As a nursing student, you should know better.

    I also wouldn't insult the many nurses with learning disabilities by saying you don't want one caring for you. They provide excellent care and you wouldn't even know that they have a learning disability.

    As Lizz said, there is a problem with a few students paying a doctor without ethics for a diagnosis in order to get extra test time or other accommodations. That said, most students really do have learning disabilities if diagnosed. Students that I've seen who have learning disabilities are actually embarrassed and loathe to get the extra help they need.

    I suggest you go learn more about learning disabilities and then be glad that by the grace of happenstance - you don't have one.
  8. by   Sheri257
    I wouldn't blame the MD and say he didn't have ethics. I just told him I had test anxiety. That was the only criteria that needed to be met, at least at my school. Just about everybody has test anxiety and anybody could have done it.

    If you want to find fault with the LD system, it's with the criteria, actually. It's very broad.

    And I personally don't think the extra test taking time is much of an advantage. The extra time only allows you to second guess answers and change them which, more often than not ... hurts more than it helps. I actually quit taking the extra time because of that.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 6, '06
  9. by   Multicollinearity
    Test anxiety is not a learning disability. Some schools allow accommodations for test anxiety, but that is not a learning disability. I think the common misconception here is saying that anyone who has accommodations has a learning disability. Not so. There are many reasons for getting accommodations and LD is only one.

    ADHD/ADD can require accommodations, but it isn't a learning disability. If you broke your hand then your campus would allow accommodations for you to tape record lectures, for example. Other examples of disabilities without LD could be psychological impairment (test anxiety or slowed thinking due to clinical depression for example). Learning disabilities are different. They are quite specific.

    LD OnLine :: What is a Learning Disability?
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Dec 6, '06
  10. by   BSNtobe2009
    I'm sorry, maybe I'm being cruel here, but to me, Nursing is an entirely different ballgame as far as working with a disability that is learning in nature.

    If you can't think on your toes for a test, then you can't be expected to do it in a hospital and working with real patients.

    If you can't absorb quickly what happens in class or clinicals, then how are you going to survive learning the new procedures for new equipment, medicines, new courses of care from hospital training?

    I feel if you cannot perform at this level, then you would actually be endangering your patients if you were working in a medical setting.

    I would feel that same way about Doctors, etc.
  11. by   Multicollinearity
    Here's a good thread on nurses with learning disabilities.

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f50/any-...ing+disability
  12. by   dmarie (GA)
    In response to multicollinarity's post above....... When I said "learning disabled" in the original post, I didn't come up with that term myself. This label is given to certain students who meet the criteria in the state of GA where I'm located. I'm not name-calling or "putting down" students with learning disabilities.

    I understand what learning disabilities are. I don't have a problem with learning disabled students getting the extra help they need.

    However, as a nursing student, I am constantly being challenged and held to a certain standard of critical thinking. I'm expected to perform in the lab, during clinicals, and on tests.

    If I don't perform to that standard, I fail out of nursing school and subsequently, I will not become a nurse. There's a reason for this.

    It takes more than a compassionate heart to be a nurse. It takes more than desire. You have to be able to think quickly and critically.

    On the floor, you can't stop in a crisis situation and say, "Wait everyone, I have a learning disability. Hold on, I need extra time to think about what to do." or "I'm sorry guys, can you hang on a second? I have a learning disability."

    In my mind, if you can't do the coursework and complete nursing school by the same standards as the rest of the students, that should tell you something. Why not consider a different alternative career path? There are lots of alternatives that allow for a compassionate heart but with less rigorous course work.

    Here's an idea! Why not give extra help to the bright students who exhibit extra potential? Why not cultivate their talents and challenge them?
  13. by   cardiacRN2006
    I dunno, we had a girl in my class that had to take her tests in the testing center (as opposed to with our entire class) due to a learning disability. She was already an LPN, and had many years experience, and performed really well in clinical.

    I can tell you that realy nursing has little to do with nursing school. A little extra time here, a quite room there. Not all nursing students are going into the ICU, medsurg L&D etc...where everything is stat and fast paced. Lots of places in nursing for people to go work at.
  14. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from dmarie (GA)
    Here's an idea! Why not give extra help to the bright students who exhibit extra potential? Why not cultivate their talents and challenge them?

    1. I think multi was a little miffed by your use of quotes on the term "learning disability".

    2. You'll have a hard time finding a brighter student that multi, so I'm sure she believes in cultivating that talent and other things academically related. But she also believes in helping all people out....

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