The lived experience of nursing students with learning disabilities
Higher education has begun experiencing a rise in the enrollment of students with learning disabilities. The impact of this increase is also extending to nursing programs as nursing faculty report a significant increase in the enrollment of nursing students with disabilities. As a caring profession, nursing has traditionally appreciated uniqueness in order to promote health and holistic care to patients, and this caring should translate in the educational sphere with regard to student nurses with learning disabilities. The purpose of this research was to explore the lived experience of nursing students with learning disabilities. Through the use of the critical disability theory (CDT) as a guiding framework, this phenomenological study sought to find truth in the lived experience of these students.The findings revealed an overarching theme of spiraling anxiety with three sub-themes of isolation, a fear of failure and being labeled. The results include recommendations for nursing schools, such as establishing a dedicated faculty member as a liaison for students bridging previous educational experiences to nursing education, and its programs. Lastly, a recommendation was madefor nursing schools to explore any incongruencies in its program mission and values and in educating students with learning disabilities.