Technical Standards for Nursing Education Programs in the 21st Century

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Purpose:The Institute of Medicine (2000, 2002) exposed serious safety problems in the health system and called for total qualitative system change. The Institute of Medicine (2011, 2015) also calls for improving the education of nurses to provide leadership for a redesigned health system. Intertwined with improving education is the need to recruit and retain diverse highly qualified students. Disability is part of diversity inclusion, but current technical standards (nonacademic requirements) for admission to many nursing programs are a barrier to the entry of persons with disabilities. Rehabilitation nurse leaders are in a unique position to improve disability diversity in nursing. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of disability diversity in nursing.Design:The history of existing technical standards used in many nursing programs is reviewed along with examples.Methods:On the basis of the concept that disability inclusion is a part of diversity inclusion, we propose a new model of technical standards for nursing education.Conclusion and Clinical Relevance:Rehabilitation nurse leaders can lead in eliminating barriers to persons with disabilities entering nursing.

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