The Lived Experience in the Clinical Setting of Nursing Students With Disabilities

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This qualitative study utilizes Moustakas’s psychological phenomenology to explore the lived experiences in the clinical setting of nursing students with disabilities.


Overall, the numbers of college students with disabilities are increasing, and more students with disabilities are being admitted into nursing programs.


A purposive sample of 13 junior and senior baccalaureate nursing students with self-declared disabilities from two Northeastern baccalaureate nursing programs were interviewed.


Five main themes and 12 subthemes emerged from the data. The main themes are: masking a disability, revealing a disability, affecting clinical experiences, overcoming challenges in clinical, and sharing experiences with others. The findings include: missing out on clinical experiences, limiting clinical performance, and developing strategies to adapt to a disability. Discrimination was found to exist for nursing students with disabilities who realized that they were now responsible for managing their disabilities


Recommendations are offered for faculty orientation programs and disability services offices.

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