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Would You Hire a Deaf Nurse?

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, August 20, 2013

One nurse who's successfully managed these situations is Morag MacDonald, RN, MSW, who writes about her experience as a deaf nurse in the book Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses Working with disAbilities. She writes that she made modifications to her workplace, such as using a master alarm with a remote receiver, and placing a receiver on IV machines and respirators to alert her with flashing lights when alerts went off.

MacDonald also got help from her coworkers, writing that the "ward clerk or other nurses alerted me if a patient was ringing for me… other nurses made my phone calls and we used a 'barter' system in supporting each other."

But MacDonald's career wasn't only shaped by the accommodations she needed in order to do her work. Her deafness was an asset in some ways, too. For instance, since she was able to read lips she was especially good at caring for patients who were on respirators. And she really connected with certain patients and parents.

She writes, "Many parents of chronically ill or disabled children saw me as proof of what their own children might be able to achieve."

Proof of what they could achieve, that is, if only given the chance.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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9 comments on "Would You Hire a Deaf Nurse?"

Andrea lopez (10/24/2013 at 6:22 PM)
I would like that if you hire a deaf medical assistance and i already have medical assistance certification.

Elisabeth (9/10/2013 at 11:57 AM)
My elderly mother's PCP is deaf and this individual does a fabulous job of accomodating and tending to her needs. I admire this individual greatly for having the courage to pursue their dreams. It is a non issue for us when I take my mother for her appointments. What this college did is down right WRONG and a violation of this individual civil rights. I hope she wins her case and pursues her dream. Best of luck to you.

Suella Thrasher (8/26/2013 at 11:14 AM)
Many hostile comments recorded. This would be a great assignment in a masters program-when I completed my MSN, I had to develop a teaching plan for an autistic student. At first I said to myslef "no way"; but I learned a lot. At the acute bedside (my background) hearing is necessary I can you hear behind you...a code paged overhead..hubbub in a unit..other nurses could adjust to the disability but it would be quite a challenge. Don't know that it's impossible but certainly a serious challenge. There are other places for nurses (auditing for example) but those are best served with experience...bottom line...i don't know...