264260 Adequacy of NP Programs in Preparing Graduates to Care for Patients with Disabilities

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:35 PM - 12:53 PM

Suzanne C. Smeltzer, RN, EdD , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Elizabeth Blunt, PhD, RN, CRNP , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Lisa Wetzel-Effinger, RN, MSN , College of Nursing, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Strong evidence indicates that healthcare professionals have an inadequate understanding of disability and are ill-equipped to provide quality care to people with disabilities (PWDs). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) identifies nurse practitioners (NPs) as increasingly important providers in primary care in the future. Little is known, however, about how well NPs are prepared to provide care for PWDs. In an effort to obtain data about the educational preparation of NPs related to disability, a 34-item online survey, developed with input from people with disabilities, was distributed to the 330 U.S. schools with NP programs; 111 usable surveys were returned with a response rate of 33.6%. Analysis revealed that the medical model of disability predominated in these programs. Major barriers to inclusion of disability content were lack of time in an already packed curriculum and lack of faculty with expertise in disability. Over 71% and 54% of respondents indicated that they were ineffective in addressing health care needs of men and women with disabilities, respectively. Reproductive issues and abuse in PWD were infrequently addressed. Almost 90% of respondents reported spending too little time or far too little time on disability and indicated that they did not have or know of resources to assist them in teaching NP students about disability. Most NP students enter and leave graduate programs with little disability-related education and experience. Strategies are needed to ensure that these primary care providers are prepared to provide care to PWD, consistent with the improved health care proposed in the ACA.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe the inclusion of disability-related content in nurse practitioner education and barriers to inclusion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversaw the development, implementation and analysis of the survey that is described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.