Laura C. Mood



Document Type


Degree Name



Oregon Health & Science University


Nursing students and new nurses with learning disabilities (LDs) are at risk for school and work-related transition failures, yet little is known about how best to support this group in pre- and post-licensure transitions to clinical practice (TTP). Through this critical interpretive study I explored what pre- and post-licensure TTP was like for persons with LD from the perspectives of those living the experience. I conducted 23 total interviews involving eight participants. I used a narrative life history method with the disability studies model as a critical lens in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data. Data collection and analyses occurred simultaneously. Analysis resulted in the core narrative of The Battle of Becoming. I re-presented participants’ experiences of the battle via ten data based short stories, composite in form. The stories offer a window into the complex lives and experiences of individuals with LD as well as broader societal conditions and ideologies that exist within and outside of the nursing profession. Participants acted courageously to surmount ideologies of ability that presented in their career paths. In the face of adversity, participants’ acts were demonstrative of personal resilience and professional integrity in achieving their non-negotiable objective of becoming safe, competent, and effective nurses. The application of a critical lens fostered a re-theorization of ability-disability as contextual, not simply stagnant and dichotomous in form. The results of this work point to the need for cultural competence specific to disability in nursing education and practice, the revision of policies at multiple levels, and a cultural shift toward inclusivity and civility within the profession. Further studies are needed to investigate root causes of TTP success in NL RNs with/without disabilities. Keywords: Disability, nurses, nursing students, transitions




School of Nursing

Included in

Nursing Commons



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