Can I Be a Nurse

Can I Be a Nurse if I Have Concerns with Manual Dexterity or Have only One Hand?

Can I Be a Nurse if I Have Concerns with Manual Dexterity or Have One Hand?

Absolutely! NOND has contact with nurses who have practiced as a nurse with one hand for over 25 years. Use the resources below and work with your college’s or university’s Disability Services Officer to request accommodations. Be creative when designing accommodations - as long as certain principles are followed, the ways in which tasks are done may become negotiable. With respect to technical tasks, there may be more than one way to do them. If you need specific suggestions, contact NOND to speak with one of our experts. See Danielle’s story, a successful nurse in practice.

Please explore our website for resources in regard to education, advocacy, and work. For assistance with the ADA, contact the Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance Centers. Learning about the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will help you to understand how the ADAAA broadens coverage for many individuals.

For protection, advocacy, and legal assistance, contact your state
National Disability Rights Network. Be sure to click on your state so that you get relevant and timely information. Also check out your rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

For connections with people with disabilities in your community, contact your local
Center for Independent Living.

Some nursing programs may be more receptive to you than others. If you have the opportunity, talk to current students or to nursing faculty about a selected program’s record of accommodating students with disabilities. Also, meet with the Disability Services Officer to discuss entrance requirements and your expected access to accommodations.



Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

How Can I Master Clinical Skills if I Have Impaired Vision?

How Can I Master Clinical Skills if I Have Impaired Vision?

Please explore our website for resources in regard to
education, advocacy, and work. You may already know about national organizations providing assistance for people with impaired vision nfb.org/state-and-local-organizations and “Shedding Light on Nurses with Vision Loss.”

The ADA Amendments specify that mitigating measures or devices such as special eye wear cannot be considered in determining whether a person has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (the criterion for protection under the ADA). This means that your bioptics (described below) or other special adaptations that help you function well do not disqualify you for protection under the ADA. In addition, here are some specific suggestions from our Board members about how you might adapt to the clinical setting:

  • Use a clip-on magnifier for hands-free magnification or hand magnifiers.
  • Use lenses such as those used by surgeons or a bioptic, which work like binoculars. You can zoom in or out until you can see the object. A specialist in low vision optometry can prescribe these special binocular glasses.
  • Review different low vision websites for instruments to test out in the learning laboratory with your instructor. You may need different items for different tasks; make sure you can return the ones that do not work for you.
  • Use a headband light. Extra light is extremely important in accomplishing clinical tasks; fluorescent lights are problematic for people with low vision.
  • Use a talking blood pressure device and talking thermometer.
  • For charting on paper: A hand-held magnification device from Telesensory utilizes a computer screen where the size of the object/print can be enlarged.
  • For computer charting: Screen magnifiers (programs added to agency mainframes or a pen drive that can be taken from computer to computer) work wonders for anyone with low vision. Zoomtext is one of the available assistive technology software programs but there are many companies that sell these products.
  • For catheterizing: A headband light can help you view the area for catheter insertion a little better. Get closer than other nurses to the patient, while making sure to maintain the sterile field. Extra light and closer proximity to the patient are the keys to this procedure. 
  • For tracheotomy care: Extra light and magnification glasses or clip-ons will help. With gloved hands, place one index finger alongside the tracheotomy so that you can feel the opening. Use that finger as a guide to insert the suction tube into the trach. Because you will get closer than other nurses (while still maintaining your sterile field), you may want to wear a mask. This may take a little practice but it works.
  • For IV medication administration: Again, the key is getting close and having adequate light. You can use magnifier glasses to make the very small print larger and a headband light to view the small connections for the tubing. 

Other resources for you include the following:




Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

Can I Be a Nurse if I Have a Learning Disability?

Can I Be a Nurse if I Have a Learning Disability?

Please explore our website for resources in regard to education, advocacy, and work.

For protection, advocacy, and legal assistance, contact your state
National Disability Rights Network. Be sure to click on your state so that you get relevant and timely information. For assistance with the ADA, contact the Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance Centers. Learning about the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will help you to understand how the ADAAA broadens coverage for many individuals. Yes, the ADA Amendments cover major life activities that can be limited by learning disabilities (for example, learning and concentrating) and provide protection for you.

Support and Activism
For connections with people with disabilities in your community, contact your local
Center for Independent Living.



Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

What Should I Do if Have a Disability that May Prevent Me from Becoming a CNA but a Nursing Program Requires that I Earn that Certification Before I Can Enter their Program?

What Should I Do if Have a Disability that May Prevent Me from Becoming a CNA but a Nursing Program Requires that I Earn that Certification Before I Can Enter their Program?

Please explore our website for resources in regard to education, advocacy, and work.

For assistance with the ADA, contact the
Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance Centers, then meet with the program coordinator and ask questions. For example, do you actually have to be certified as a nursing assistant or do you just have to complete the classroom portion of the course with a passing grade? If there are areas that you can’t physically complete, can you verbally instruct someone else on how to complete the task? You might also ask for a waiver for the CNA portion. Make sure to contact your State Board of Nursing which regulates CNA programs to see how they might work with you to accomplish your goals. Finally, find a strong advocate, someone who can speak well to disability law, and remember that not all nursing programs are restrictive in this way – look around for another program which may be a better fit.

Also, learning about the
ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will help you to understand how the ADAAA broadens coverage for many individuals.



Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

Can I Be a Nurse if I am Person of Small Stature?

Can I Be a Nurse if I am Person of Small Stature?
Absolutely, you can be a nurse if you are a person of small stature. You can start by exploring our website for resources in regard to education, advocacy, and work. You also could contact Little People of America and discuss the situation. They might be able to connect you with a mentor/advocate who can help you navigate your journey.

NOND board members welcome the opportunity to speak with you if you do not find what you need on our website. You also will want to contact these resources, according to your specific needs:




Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

Do I Have to be Academically Qualified to Enter a Nursing Program, Even if I Have a Disability?

Do I Have to be Academically Qualified to Enter a Nursing Program, Even if I Have a Disability?

Yes, you must be academically qualified. Nursing requires a solid foundation in the humanities, social sciences, and biological sciences, among others, and you will need to come to your nursing program well-prepared in these areas.

If you have a disability and would like to become a nurse, it is good to know your rights.
For protection, advocacy, and legal assistance, contact the National Disability Rights Network in your state. For assistance with the ADA, contact the Americans with Disabilities Act Technical Assistance http://adata.org/Static/Home.html. See also Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.



Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

If I Have a Disability, Can I Become a Practical or a Registered Nurse?

  • If I Have a Disability, can I Become a Practical or a Registered Nurse?

See our website on Advocacy Strategies for School. For information about the 2008 amendments to the ADA that broadens coverage for many individuals, see http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa_info.cfm. Contact the ADA Center for information on the ADA. Also, the Open the Door, Get 'Em a Locker film detailing one nursing student’s admission, successful journey, and graduation from a baccalaureate nursing program might be of interest to you. You absolutely can be a nurse, if you are academically qualified. Most of NOND’s Board members are nurses and many of them have disabilities – we did it, so can you!

Where can I find information about financial resources for a nursing student or a nurse with a disability? Please explore our site for
resources in regard to education, advocacy, and employment. For information about how to get a job or get assistance with funding for school, contact your State Vocational Rehabilitation Program.



Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.