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Getting into a nursing program with a L.D.

Hello everyone,

I have always had an interest in nursing, due to the fact that many of my immediate family are in the healthcare field. It is my dream to become a Nurse. I took the TEAS and was confident that I would pass. I done exactly as I predicted; well on everything but the math which has always been a problem for me. I have a 3.7 GPA and made A's in anatomy and Physiology (as well as several other classes that will go towards my Bachelors).

The problem is that I never told anyone at my college about my learning disability that has haunted me since the third grade. But it has became apparent that I am going to need some help if I am going to succeed. Understand that it is counterintuitive to every instinct that I have to ask the college for any type of help. But it has came down to either my pride or following my dream and being able to support my family while doing somthing I would love. I literally forget that I will be getting paid for being a nurse when I daydream about working. I guess I though I would grow out of my Learning Disability:rolleyes:.

I truly feel ashamed for needing to ask for help and I feel that I will be treated as I always have; A burden. I know for a fact that I can perform as well as anyone in the classes and clinicals, all i'm asking for is the chance to do so.


Specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

First of all, you are NOT a burden and you have nothing for which you should be ashamed. People have differing abilities. Yes, nursing school is difficult, but please don't defeat yourself before you even get started! A learning disability is not laziness. It's not a personal defect. It's not a weakness of character. It is what it is. It's a part of who you are and maybe, just maybe, having that disability might make you more empathetic and conscious of the challenges that your patients may face.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, schools must provide reasonable accommodations to students who have learning disabilities. However, the school cannot help you if you don't let your instructors know about your needs. If I was your instructor and saw you struggling, I would want to know what I could do to help you learn. I would feel much better knowing that you had a learning disability than not knowing and thinking that maybe you weren't really motivated.

Please---stick around AllNurses. Look at some of these threads and read some of the stories. There are nurses here who have beaten the odds, who are working in spite of disabilities and challenges. You can do it, too!

And no more of this "burden" business...okay? :hug:

yeah, I guess you're right. I'm going to the program dean's office tomorrow to see if I can re-schedual my test with the appropriate accomodations. Wish me Luck!


thanks for the encouragement; been looking into my rights as a student with a disability as well as what to expect from the faculty/college staff and what channels I need to go through to ensure my rights are recognized. Being constructive rather than destructive.

Thanks again!


well, my college is pritty much telling me to start back at square one and choose a different major..... they said that if I can't pass the first milestone without accomodations then I certainly can't finish the program or get liscensed by the state because they won't make any accomodations for the NCLEX. all of this when I have a higher GPA than a majority of the 'regular' students that pass the TEAS.


Specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

I think you need to take this higher than your college. You do have rights under the ADA.

Also, check out this website:


Edited by Moogie


Specializes in LTC, Med-Surg.

I had some trouble in school. I have pretty severe ADHD. Class was really tough and I had to convince each new clinical instructor that on the floor my LD translated into multitasker extrodinaire! Play to your strengths...we all have some. :redpinkhe

I really just can't see myself doing anything else. I have focused all of my studies on becoming a nurse and am being held back by a test that simply measures how well you do on that particular test. It's not like I'm asking them to water-down or change the curriculum for me; all i'm asking for is a basic four function calculator and a quite place to take my test. I got distracted by the sounds of all the other pencils, people walking through by the testing center talking, and would loose my place reading and what step I was on in the math.

All in all, I don't think that the things I have requested are unreasonable. Any other oppinions?

Thanks for the link; I had no idea that there was any type of organization like this for us. Its good to know that there are support systems. I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude for everyone who has helped me here also.

Just an fyi, I also an LD student and was told by my school they do.

have Nclex accomidations


Specializes in Psych.

I have dyscalculia. I ran into roadblock after roadblock getting through nursing school. Listen, they have to provide accomodations for you, as someone else said. They accomodations are not written in stone. *I* came up with my own accomodation [swapping Chem for Algebra], and got the Students with Disabities Center to support me. Don't sit around and wait for someone else to tell you what you need for an accomodation - just think about what you need, and go for it. Get someone, anyone, to back you. A disabilities lawyer would be GREAT. Present your case to the Nursing Admissions Dept. You need a fricking calculator? THAT IS REASONABLE. Present evidence as to WHY it is reasonable: Because any working nurse, anywhere can pick up a calculator and use it on the job.


Specializes in Psych.

P.S. Testing in a private area is also reasonable. I did it during nursing school too. Brainstorm your potential backers:

your academic advisor?

High school advisor?

Student Center Disability Support Services?

Legal aid? Family lawyer?

Whoever tested you for the LD?


This is the LAW...but some educators STILL don't know that they can't just shove you out the door because of your LD. So stay calm, and strong.


HeartsOpenWide, RN

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

well, my college is pritty much telling me to start back at square one and choose a different major..... they said that if I can't pass the first milestone without accomodations then I certainly can't finish the program or get liscensed by the state because they won't make any accomodations for the NCLEX. all of this when I have a higher GPA than a majority of the 'regular' students that pass the TEAS.

I was too ashamed to admit that I might have a learning disability as well. Not until the semester before I transferred to the University did I final buck up and get tested. They found I had leaning disabilities in 'math calculations' and 'working memory' which impeded my performance when put under time pressures. Once it was discovered that I had a learning disability I was granted time and a half and a private room for testing. I wish I did this at the beginning of my college career. I got into nursing and continued to use my "testing accommodations" that were granted to me as a learning disabled student. I ended up graduating with honors and was accepted into Sigma Theta Tau. Since I was protected under the state I also got extended time and a private room for the NCLEX (because it is law and I am protected under the disability act) which I passed the first time. Having a learning disability does not make you dumb, as I have proven; and your GPA proves as well...we just learn a different way than other people and have to have adjustments made so that we can reach our full potential. Don't be ashamed, get tested, earn your accommodations and perform at your best; you won't ever regret it. I never did.

Wow, I really appreciate all of the support here! I am currently scheduling yet another meeting with the lady over the division. Her main argument to this day, even after I was tested by the psychologist that she referred me to is that I have done too well in my math courses to be disabled severely enough to get what I am requesting. Her exact words were " I don't feel comfortable asking for anything other than extended time on math assignments; calculator usage is also permitted by the instructor's discretion". I don't see how this is about her other than the fact that I have to go through this woman to get what I am legally entitled to.


Specializes in Psych.

hlr, she needs to realize this is not about her comfort level. It's about your rights. If you have the documentation from your psychologist that you have LD, please go to your school's Student Support Services or whatever they call it there for the LD/Disabled students and talk to an advisor or director. THEY know the law. Nursing dept isn't playing nice. Don't expect them to. I know we are starting to talk about money when we talk lawyers, but you might have to slap down some money for a lawyer to draw something up for discriminating against you. Before you do that, go to EVERYONE you can possibly go to in the college, and if you keep getting NO's, let them know you will see a lawyer, but back it up.

Well, that is the thing, this woman is over the student support services. Shes the one supposed to be helping me, but instead shes trying to hold my head under water. She has also been ignoring my attempts to contact her for the past three weeks (all meetings must be scheduled ahead of time). I fully intend on seeking legal advice if I keep getting blown off and just expected to go away like a case of the sniffles.


Specializes in Psych.

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! I didn't realize this flippin' fool was from support services! WOW! Off to Legal you go! I'm really sorry.

Before that, though, I would go to the main college, whoever is above her. SOMEONE is above her.

GOOD luck!:up:

yeah, I should have clarified that earlier on. But she was supposed to be working along side the nursing department in order to see if I could retest for the TEAS with my accommodations and both of the people from the different departments have just stopped corresponding with me at all. I think they just really don't know how to deal with my situation because she said " the dilemma is that one of the requirements for the nursing program is that you be able to solve problems without the use of a calculator". My first cousin is the director of surgery at a major hospital and he has even told me that there isn't a nurse on his floor that don't do their dosages without a calculator and even then they get another nurse to look over the calculations for accuracy sake. So they can't play the whole 'a calculator in the work place isn't practical' bit. I just can't believe I'm being held back not because of my grades, but because of the same thing I've had to deal with my entire elementary, middle, and high school career....

Alright guys, I figure it is time for an update. I have fought with my current college for about a year over this problem. I finally came to an agreement with admissions that I could take my TEAS exam at another college with my accommodations. Well, I took it...... this time I PASSED! with well above what was required.

Here comes the kicker. I have all of my supplemental classes squared away and then some; to sum it up, I have a 3.7 GPA, passed my entrance exam, and have all prerequisites and all of the classes that go along with the program done other than the core nursing classes. I get a letter saying that I should retake the test at THEIR college to better my chances of admission..... I know for a fact that they have let people in that have the minimum 2.5 gpa, barely passed the TEAS and have NO supplemental classes done. I was told BY THE DEAN OF THE PROGRAM that " due to the fact that accommodations aren't allowed on the NCLEX, I am not going to admit you to the program to fill a slot" and that " there are no accommodations when someone is in the ER dying; if it was one of your family members, you'd understand." they never had any intentions of letting me into the program because they fully expected me to fail and go away like a case of the sniffles

I promptly wrote a letter to the president of the college stating the facts: I had a psych evaluation at my own expense to get an official diagnosis, I went to a different college (which they referred me to) to take my TEAS exam (Which they had set up for me in ONE DAY; why the hell it takes the college i'm currently at a year to do anything resembling progress is beyond me), I passed and exceeded the requirements on the entrance exam, proved through a PDF from the manufacturers of the NCLEX that they DO allow accommodations, have all of my classes taken with the exception of the actual nursing classes, and have a well-above minimum GPA and that I would pursue legal action if nothing is done based on the fact that this is blatant discrimination.

Needless to say, they are going to reevaluate my case and carefully consider my admission to the program this May!

That is not true! You can have accommodation for the NCLEX!!! don't let any one tell you different.

You're going through a real trial by fire, aren't you? Nursing will be lucky to have you when you come out on the other side of this.

I know this is an older post but I think it's an important reminder to nursing programs/schools and to student with learning disabilities that you have rights protected under the Civil Liberties Act as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. If for some reason your school won't cooperate with you, don't worry about a lawyer, simply go to the US Department of Education website and fill out their online complaint form. Someone will contact you and they will help you get it done. Of course, it is much quicker to work with your school faculty, but when the "big guys" aren't willing to listen/assist that is what the US Dept. of Ed. is for. I had to request their services too due to a similar issue and after some long mediation phone calls with a legal mediator from the Dept. of Ed. office and her actually flying down to my university to meet with me and the university president, we got things straightened away.

Never give up and NEVER surrender. If you know you are meant to do this, nothing will stop you. The field of nursing and medicine need more people like you!


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