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accommodations, disability, failure, nursing student, remediation



  1. Neal-Boylan, Leslie PhD, RN, CRRN, APRN, FAAN
  2. Miller, Michelle JD, MPH, RN
  3. Lussier-Duynstee, Patricia PhD, RN


Background: Nursing faculty may be reluctant to fail students for a variety of reasons. Faculty may fear being viewed as discriminatory when failing nursing students with disabilities.


Problem: Schools of nursing may still be using technical standards that are outdated and noncompliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to determine eligibility for admission and may confuse essential functions with academic expectations. Lack of faculty awareness of the ADA may make faculty reluctant to fail nursing students with disabilities.


Approach: All nursing students should be assessed based on whether-not how-they meet academic and clinical standards safely. Disability accommodations should not affect the standards that must be met.


Conclusions: Faculty should base decisions on whether to assign failing grades to students on factors unrelated to a disability. Technical standards, when written correctly, should clarify whether inability or disability contributed to failure. Policies regarding failing should be clear, equitable, and accessible.