Most people would not think of someone becoming a doctor or nurse if said person had a physical challenge/limitation. However, it is not outside the realm of possibility. Consider even, the recent television show that challenges the concept of people with autism becoming doctors. Sound minds that can solve problems and speak clearly can enter the medical professions and still contribute in valuable ways.
The ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, led the way for anyone to become what they wanted to be and wanted to do for a career. With new technology available to help, and the VPAT 508 law, more people with physical challenges can become doctors and nurses now. Here is how that looks in action when a hospital has VPAT 508 compliance and is compliant with ADA laws.
The Example of Robotic Surgery
There was a time when surgeons who could not stand could not perform surgery. The surgery had to be guided by the surgeon giving instructions to others on what to do next. Now, surgeons who cannot stand and have to sit in a wheelchair or who have physical conditions that would prevent them for standing for long periods of time can perform robotic surgeries.
Robotic-assisted surgery involves a doctor who sits at a machine that has joystick-like controls that send signals to a machine that has half a dozen robotic arms equipped with surgical tools. As the surgeon sits and watches what the arms are doing, he/she controls each precise movement of the robot as it hovers above the anesthetized patient. Since the doctors no longer need to stand to perform surgery when this robot-assisted surgery is involved, any doctor or surgeon that has a physical challenge or limitation can be the doctor or surgeon he/she has always wanted to be. The hospital is in compliance with VPAT 508 when it trains these doctors on the use of the surgical robot.
The Nurse Making Rounds
A nursing assistant does have to have full use of his/her body to do everything a nursing assistant does. However, an LPN often administers medication, and does not do a lot of physical work with patients. Registered nurses may dress wounds, give medications, and log patient data in a computer, but they, too, do not have to have full body movement and control. They can move about on crutches, in a wheelchair, or use any other device or aid when visiting patients. If they have to sit in a wheelchair, their mobile nursing stations with computers are tailored to adjust down to their height in the chair so that it is VPAT 508 compliant.