Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Louann Zinsmeister PhD, RN, CNE


Nursing students with disabilities are an under recognized, and under supported, minority student population. Though the exact statistics for nursing students with disabilities is unknown, the presence of these students within nursing programs across the United States has been increasing significantly over the past decade. As the profession of nursing continues to strive to educate and grow a diverse professional workforce, nursing faculty will need to develop a working knowledge and understanding of disability and disability law to maintain compliance with federal law and best meet the educational needs and requirements of nursing students with disabilities. However, nursing programs have historically not been welcoming to nursing students with disabilities, and institutions of higher education are not mandated to provide disability training to faculty. An exhaustive review of the literature concluded that current practices for faculty disability training leave faculty lacking the experience, knowledge, understanding, expertise, and self-efficacy necessary to meet and support the obligations of students with disabilities. An intrinsic preference for able-bodied individuals, and an overall knowledge deficit related to disability, and disability law, has resulted in nursing faculty having low-self efficacy related to teaching nursing students with disabilities, and discriminating against nursing students with disabilities. While further longitudinal research is needed, a transition to mandating faculty development activities related to disability education would better prepare nursing faculty to teach students with disabilities and support these students in their quest to become successful professional nurses.