Nurses with Disabilities: Their Job Descriptions and Work Expectations

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To explore whether the job descriptions of registered nurses with disabilities actually match the work required by the job.


This exploratory qualitative study used constant comparative analysis to simultaneously collect and analyze the data.


Newsletters and magazines for nurses as well as the snowball method were used to advertise for participants. Participants were asked to submit to an in-person or telephone audiotaped interview that utilized an unstructured interview guide. A coding structure was developed as themes emerged. Participant verification helped to ensure trustworthiness of the data.


Results confirmed findings from previous studies and found that nurses with disabilities who stay in nursing choose a job they can do, know and accept their limitations, have supervisors who are not nurses or who have a disability, and get accommodations so they can work. They rarely receive job descriptions, but it is assumed they can do the work because they are nurses.


Nurse job descriptions are frequently not available or are inaccurate. There are jobs in nursing that nurses with disabilities can do competently and efficiently. Facilities and agencies should strive to retain these nurses and utilize their skills and expertise rather than focusing on what they are unable to do in the same way as a nurse without a disability.

Clinical Relevance:

Nurses with disabilities are leaving nursing because they are not valued for their knowledge or abilities and are often prejudged because of the disability. The profession cannot afford to lose these nurses.

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