Working with the disabled patient: exploring student nurses views for curriculum development using a swot analysis

Diane S. Willis, Mhairi Thurston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Increased longevity will mean an increase in people presenting with cognitive and physical disabilities, such as sight loss or dementia. The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 states that health care should be patient-focussed, taking into account patient needs. This will necessitate nursing curricula to reflect the needs of people who have disabilities and equip the future workforce with knowledge and skills to provide appropriate care. This study explores student nurses' strengths and weakness when working with people with disabilities and identifies opportunities and threats to developing their knowledge and skills to meet the needs of this population.

    As part of a study day, students from the year one Nursing programme were asked to take part in a SWOT analysis and post comments under the categories: strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats on a central wall about working with people with disabilities.

    Students acknowledged some of the challenges of being disabled especially in a health setting but also believed they were developing their skills to provide holistic care that ensured autonomy. Communication was viewed as both a strength and weakness and was identified as an essential skill to working effectively with people who had a disability. Students acknowledged that clinical staff were not always experts in working with people who were disabled and welcomed the opportunity to work with experts and clients as well as being directed to resources to increase their knowledge.

    Integration of disability into the nursing curriculum is needed to ensure students have awareness of and the confidence to work effectively with people who have a range of cognitive and physical disabilities alongside other medical problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)383-387
    Number of pages5
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number2
    Early online date30 Oct 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


    • Student nurses
    • Disability
    • Awareness
    • Simulation
    • Curriculum planning


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