by Walter Brasch
A student sued Misericordia College because she failed a nursing class. Twice.
She said she suffered psychological problems. Those problems included anxiety, depression, and poor concentration skills.
The college had agreed to allow her to retake the final examination last summer.
It set her up in a stress-free room, gave her extra time to complete the test, and did not provide a proctor. The professor said the student could call her by cell phone. That professor was in another building monitoring another test.
The student again failed the required course.
So now she's suing. She claims the professor didn't answer her numerous cell phone calls. She claims this made it more stressful. She claims it wasn't her fault she failed. It was the professor's fault. The college president's fault. And several others' fault.
So she sued, claiming the college violated her rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
That lawsuit acknowledges she had average to below average grades.
Let's pretend that a federal court agrees with her, and she gets so many accommodations that she now passes that course and somehow earns her nursing degree.
Let's also pretend that when she takes her nursing boards, the state gives her extra time, in a room by herself, without a proctor, makes one available by cell phone to answer questions--and, perhaps, allows her to have whatever notes and textbooks and learning aids she needs to pass that exam.
Assume all this. Now, here's the next question. Would you be comfortable having a nurse who can't handle stress? Who admits she can't concentrate? Who barely passed her college courses and requirements for a license?
Society should make accommodations for persons with disabilities--as long as those disabilities don't directly affect others and reduce the quality of care. Perhaps the student could be a nurse-educator, helping others better understand the need for vaccinations or how to care for young children. If that's the case, why even test for state boards and get the R.N. added to the B.S.N. degree? Perhaps, with psychological help, the student might be able one day to handle the stress of testing and clinical nursing.
Perhaps, the student could become an administrator. But, would nurses be willing to work for someone who suffers stress attacks and has never worked in patient care? Would teachers be willing to work for principals who never taught a class? Would firefighters be willing to take orders from a battalion chief who was never on a fire line or who rescued victims?