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ASL Interpeters allowed at clinicals per the ADA?

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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!

Julius Seizure

Specializes in Pediatric Critical Care.

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?

Yes, I would.

My employer would pay for all my interpreters, under the ADA.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

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.

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?

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?

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).

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

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.

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-ASL-interpreter.pdf

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-ASL-interpreter.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!

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

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.

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.

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 6 years experience.

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'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.

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.

Have you actually tried out this stethoscope? As someone who just graduated nursing school and is hard of hearing, I use the Littman Electronic and it amplifies 24x. It is not the only electronic out there, ThinkLabs has an electronic that amplifies 100x. If these work for you then I feel like you would not need an interpreter. Honestly, it seems to me that you have not started nursing school yet and since school is required to abide by the same ADA rules as the hospitals, you will be able to work out these problems yourself.

If you're hearing loss is profound enough that you need an ASL interpreter for school, I think you will find out quickly that you will have limited job opportunities as a nurse. The hospital setting would be difficult because even if the hospital does provide you with an interpreter, how many interpreters want to work 12 hour shifts with a nurse? As a nurse apprentice I was walking about 5 miles a shift, not to mention when we needed an ASL interpreter there were few available.

Now this is not to say you should not follow your dream to be a nurse. Absolutely do it! But either a hospital position in a town with a high number of deaf people, like Washington DC since Gallaudet University is there, or you will need to work in a less acute area. I could see you being an amazing resource for the Deaf Community, so please pursue this, but also be honest with yourself while you are in nursing school; you do not want to harm someone (or yourself) unintentionally because you could not hear.

BTW I have never seen a single nurse percuss a patient, but you can feel the difference with certain things like if you are over air filled space or solid matter.

Yes they are, I am in an ABSN program and have ASL interpreters in all my clinical rotations. 2 interpreters at at time and they switch off every half hour. The school is required to provide the services under ADA. However, it is best to have a meeting with the nursing program coordinator, clinical coordinator, and your DRC rep along with the interpreters so everyone can go over how clinical works and what to expect. My terps were required by the hospital to have MMR Tdap and Hep B vaccinations. Which the school covered the cost for.

I use the Thinklabs One, stethoscope with headphones over my cochlear implants. Also, make sure the DRC (disability resource center) at your school has the program director make it very clear to the faculty that they need to send all videos and any audio they use in class to DRC early to be captioned for you.

Good luck and message me if you have any more specific questions.

Southpaw

Oh, your interpreters should have access to all the online class material as well so they can review the powerpoints, vocabulary, concepts etc before each class. this way they can do the best job of interpreting the info. My interpreters are also paid a certain amount of prep time for each class they interpret to cover this. DRC also provides them a copy of the textbooks as well.

A Deaf community benefit is having a few really good medical interpreters by the time I finish school, HEH

this is a good group that you might want to join

Log into Facebook | Facebook

some info here too

| Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses

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.

There are no HIPAA issues as interpreters are bound by their own professional code of ethics and as part of the interdisciplinary healthcare team they are also bound by HIPAA.

As for a full time interpreter for working as a nurse, there is definitely an argument for if it's a reasonable accommodation or not. However, some hospitals have full time contract staff interpreters. Also, I would argue that the hospital can hire a staff nurse and an interpreter for the cost of 1 traveller! So they would have to prove that it was a significant financial burden to their business to provide an interpreter. I know of a Deaf MD that has a full time interpreter in his practice. I have access to the translator pads in my apprentice position, (where I don't have interpreters) however I have got by without them so far.

Another employment opportunity is working as a staff nurse at a Deaf residential school. They would love to have Deaf nurses, I may even pursue that some day. There is a huge benefit to having a Deaf nurse with Deaf patients that will result better care and patient satisfaction than using an interpreter