Nursing student sues college for failing to make accommodations for her

A student is suing her college after she failed a course — not once, but twice — because she says they didn’t make accommodations for her special needs.

And what are her special needs? She suffers from anxiety and depression, and whether or not the college was right by refusing to accommodate for her, the complaints I’m reading about her and her chosen career path are pretty disappointing.

“If you can’t handle the anxiety of a test….how you can possibly handle the stress of a patient in dire need of medical attention?” reads a comment on the WNEP article. “This is a joke, the college can’t let someone slide by in a profession where lives are at stake. People with disabilities always ask NOT to be treated differently than others. This should be no different.”

“Nursing will crush this delicate flower!” reads another comment. “Trust me. You got a lot to learn if you are going to survive (let’s hope your future patients do) in this cruel world. I wonder how many ‘participation’ trophies this girl has…”

“Would you want this ‘unstable’ female to be your nurse?” asks yet another. “Maybe, she could apply for neurosurgery school and ‘sue’ them, too.”

Look. I get it. If you don’t suffer from a mental illness like anxiety, then you really don’t understand, and it can seem like someone who needs extra help during a classroom exam should choose a different career path. The correlation between the two doesn’t always play out, however. I am not a nurse, but I have many friends who are, and they told me that how you perform in the classroom does not directly translate into real-world nursing situations.

“I suffer from depression and anxiety and panic disorders, and that’s never stopped me from being a good practitioner,” says Vicki. “Work is a great place for me when I’m not in the best place — I’m helping others, I become really task oriented, and it’s a great outlet. Giving compassion makes you feel good.”

Janet has a similar tale to share. “My mother has suffered from debilitating anxiety, depression and possible bipolar disorder,” she says. “But she’s been a nurse for over 30 years, and it’s literally her happy place. She loves working as a nurse and helping people.”

And Dani explains what it’s like to receive care from someone who both works as a nurse and copes with depression or anxiety themselves. “When I was hospitalized for PTSD, the most compassionate person I dealt with was a nurse with chronic anxiety,” she says. “She was able to relate to and care for me in a way that would have been impossible had she not had this condition. I still use some of her tricks to cope with anxiety to this day.”

So, for all those who are jumping all over this gal and say she’ll never survive in the “real” world as a nurse because she failed a class twice due to lack of accommodations, it’s really not your place to say what she could or couldn’t do on the job. If she continues along this career path, she may wind up being an amazing, intuitive, compassionate caregiver — you really never know.

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