ASL Interpeters allowed at clinicals per the ADA?

  1. Hi! I'm planning on applying to 2 nursing programs in the spring: Golden West College and West Coast University.

    My question is, are ASL interpreters allowed at clinical sites with me, the deaf student, as an accommodation per the ADA?

    What else should I know regarding my rights as a deaf nursing student? I know my rights regarding general education and public spaces, but I'm not as well versed in specialty programs (nursing, medical school, etc etc).

    Thanks!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Julius Seizure
    I have absolutely no idea. Maybe asking one of the national advocacy organizations for those with hearing impairments?

    I'm curious, would you need an interpreter with you at work after graduation too, then? How does that work? Do you pay one yourself?
  4. by   Natiel
    Yes, I would.
    My employer would pay for all my interpreters, under the ADA.
  5. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from Natiel
    Yes, I would.
    My employer would pay for all my interpreters, under the ADA.
    I'm not sure that would fly as a reasonable accommodation. You've got HIPAA issues to worry about, expect an employer to pay the salary of 2 people for the job of 1, and then there's the issue of assessment.
  6. by   elkpark
    Quote from Natiel
    Yes, I would.
    My employer would pay for all my interpreters, under the ADA.
    Good luck with that. While state and Federal education law basically require schools to do whatever is necessary to get people with disabilities through school, employers are only required to make "reasonable accommodations," a much lower standard. How many employers are going to consider providing interpreters full-time a "reasonable accommodation"? In the facilities in which I've worked, it's been hard enough to get interpreters, on an occasional basis, for the clients who need them.

    Have you held any job in the past in which your employer provided a full-time interpreter?
  7. by   Natiel
    Quote from elkpark
    Good luck with that. While state and Federal education law basically require schools to do whatever is necessary to get people with disabilities through school, employers are only required to make "reasonable accommodations," a much lower standard. How many employers are going to consider providing interpreters full-time a "reasonable accommodation"? In the facilities in which I've worked, it's been hard enough to get interpreters, on an occasional basis, for the clients who need them.

    Have you held any job in the past in which your employer provided a full-time interpreter?
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    I'm not sure that would fly as a reasonable accommodation. You've got HIPAA issues to worry about, expect an employer to pay the salary of 2 people for the job of 1, and then there's the issue of assessment.
    No, I haven't. However, I've spoken with ASL interpreter agencies who specialize in medical interpreting, and they say whoever will be my future employer will be required to pay the agency for a full-time interpreter based on the budget that the agency submits to the employer(s).
  8. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from Natiel
    No, I haven't. However, I've spoken with ASL interpreter agencies who specialize in medical interpreting, and they say whoever will be my future employer will be required to pay the agency for a full-time interpreter based on the budget that the agency submits to the employer(s).
    Of course they're going to tell you that. They're the ones who want the money. But medical interpreting is way different than performing a nursing assessment. That can't be interpreted.
  9. by   Natiel
    Quote from Rose_Queen
    Of course they're going to tell you that. They're the ones who want the money. But medical interpreting is way different than performing a nursing assessment. That can't be interpreted.
    I never said that the interpreters would do the assessment and other nursing care tasks on my behalf. They're only there for communication between pts, families, and other healthcare staff.

    Also, please read these:

    BREAKING: Deaf Nurse Wins Court Case |

    Court rules Hopkins wrongly rescinded job offer of deaf nurse - Baltimore Sun

    http://www.nursinglaw.com/deaf-nurse...nterpreter.pdf
  10. by   elkpark
    Quote from Natiel
    I never said that the interpreters would do the assessment and other nursing care tasks on my behalf. They're only there for communication between pts, families, and other healthcare staff.

    Also, please read these:

    BREAKING: Deaf Nurse Wins Court Case |

    Court rules Hopkins wrongly rescinded job offer of deaf nurse - Baltimore Sun

    http://www.nursinglaw.com/deaf-nurse...nterpreter.pdf
    Yeah, I wondered if you realized you were likely to have to pursue a long, complicated court case to get hired as an RN. And, even if that works, you'll have a target on your back every day at work because of the circumstances of your hiring.

    The three sources you cite all refer to the same case, one in which a deaf nurse was offered a job, and then the offer was rescinded after she requested a full-time interpreter. While I can understand the deaf community celebrating this outcome, rest assured that hospital legal departments also follow these kind of developments closely, and the lesson they will draw from this will be "don't offer the deaf nurse a job in the first place."

    You will essentially be asking employers to hire you at twice the cost of another nurse (your salary plus the cost of the interpreter). What specialized skills or knowledge do you have that would make you twice as valuable to an employer than the many other candidates employers will have for entry level nursing jobs? In much of the country, there is a surplus of new grads and many are struggling to find jobs.

    But, maybe things will work out for you (I do see in one of the articles you linked that the nurse involved in the suit is now employed at another hospital that is providing a full-time interpreter). Best wishes!
  11. by   llg
    There is a website called "The Exceptional Nurse" that you should check out. I haven't looked at it for some time, but it's focus is on nurses with disabilities. There may be people there with lots of experience with what is generally considered to be "reasonable" accommodations by health care facilities and what types of jobs and employers have been most accommodating.

    I wish you the best of luck as you try to find a good fit in the health care industry for yourself.
  12. by   falonmontgomeryRN
    The school, with proper notice from you, is supposed to supply you with an interpreter. You should submit a request for accommodation for your clinical, and according to ADA laws they should have to provide that accommodation for you.
  13. by   psu_213
    I'm sure someone (probably many people) are going to think me a jerk for asking this question, but I'm just being practical about this....what about listening to heart/lung/bowel sounds? Auscultation (and percussion) are major parts of the physical exam. I want a person with a disability to be all they can be and more, and I totally appreciate the dream to become a nurse; however, there seems to be practical issues that would be very difficult for a person who is deaf to overcome in nursing school.
  14. by   Natiel
    Quote from psu_213
    I'm sure someone (probably many people) are going to think me a jerk for asking this question, but I'm just being practical about this....what about listening to heart/lung/bowel sounds? Auscultation (and percussion) are major parts of the physical exam. I want a person with a disability to be all they can be and more, and I totally appreciate the dream to become a nurse; however, there seems to be practical issues that would be very difficult for a person who is deaf to overcome in nursing school.
    I understand your concern. However, I've done very thorough research and found that there's an electronic stethoscope that amplifies bowel/lung/heart sounds to the point I can hear them quite clearly.

    Percussion, though... I'll have to think about how I can work around that one somehow.

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