RCN Peer Support Service - Information for students

If you are studying to be a nurse, or thinking about doing so, and you have disability, impairment and/or are neurodiverse this page is for you. 

Many nursing staff work whilst managing their own health and disability issues whether acquired or pre-existing. Lived experience of working as a medical professional with a disability or neurodiversity is a great asset. 

  • Students with impairments can, and do, complete their courses and go on to be employed in the health care sector 
  • A diverse cohort brings benefits for all as students with protected characteristics bring valuable lived experience, increased resilience and resourcefulness.
  • It is good practice to support nursing students to get the reasonable adjustments they need and often it is also a legal obligation. 

The main barriers to inclusive healthcare placements are: 

  • The way information is shared between education provider and placement;
  • Lack of knowledge about how to support colleagues with disabilities amongst placement staff;
  • Incorrect assumptions about the implications of a disability for being able to perform a nursing role.
  • Student’s fear about disclosing their disability (often due to the points above). 

Join Peer Support

Joining is quick and easy. Just complete this online form

Disabled Students' Allowance

Information on DSA for nursing degree students

illustration of head and shoulders of three nursing staff

Removing Disabling Barriers at Work

Click to read our guide.

a nurse in uniform holds up a tablet device

Samantha's story

Read about Samantha's journey as a student nurse with a disability.
illustration of two nurses chatting, one is a wheelchair user

Freya's story

Freya talks about difficulties she faced on placement and how peer support helped.
illustration of two members of the nursing team one is wearing a hijab and suit, the other a suit and tie.

Shaun's story

Student council member Shaun talks about his role and being diagnosed as Neurodiverse during his degree. 

Reasonable adjustments case study: Dyslexia

After initially struggling with academic assignments and organisational skills, Kate was referred to Student Services for additional support, and was later diagnosed with dyslexia. 

Read about the adjustments and support put in place to help her thrive.

Reasonable adjustments case study: Depression

Liam didn't want to disclose his depression on placement, but when his mood and energy levels dipped, he felt unable to attend his shifts.

Upon meeting with the Disability Liaison Tutor, adjustments were put in place to help Liam succeed.