Would You Hire a Deaf Nurse?
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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