Help for daughter with learning disability who wants to go to nursing school

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm trying to find a nursing school for my daughter she has a learning disability and can't pass the entry exam

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,319 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Mother,

It's good that you're trying to help your daughter, but does she want to attend nursing school? Is there any chance that not passing the entry exam is too much pressure for her?

Not passing the entry exam can indicate future serious challenges in nursing school. Nursing school is difficult and puts a lot of pressure on students, even those without a learning disability.

On the other hand, she may just need test-taking support.

Without knowing the nature or extent of her disability, here's some suggestions.

  • Identify Learning Support Services. Look for nursing schools that offer comprehensive learning support services. These services may include tutoring, counseling, and accommodations for students with learning disabilities. Some schools have dedicated offices or departments that assist students with disabilities.
  • Contact School Disability Services. Reach out to the disability services office at prospective nursing schools. Discuss your daughter's specific learning disability and inquire about the services and accommodations available to support her during the program.
  • Explore Test Accommodations. If the entry exam is a barrier, explore whether test accommodations can be provided. Many testing centers and schools offer accommodations such as extended testing time or a separate testing room for individuals with documented learning disabilities.
  • Consider Online or Hybrid Programs: Some nursing schools offer online or hybrid programs that may have different admission requirements. Online programs can provide flexibility and may have alternative methods for assessing students' readiness for nursing coursework.
  • Review Admission Policies. Check the admission policies of nursing schools to understand if they have specific criteria related to entry exams. Some schools may place more emphasis on other aspects of the application, such as interviews or work experience.
  •  Community colleges often have nursing programs and may have different entry requirements than four-year institutions. They may also offer additional support services.
  • Consider CNA or LPN/LVN. Some schools offer Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training or Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) programs. This can provide a step-by-step approach to the nursing profession.

Remember to involve your daughter in decision-making and ensure that any chosen program aligns with her goals and learning style. Whenever possible, allow her to initiate finding out about accommodations and help.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth



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