National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND)

NOND logo

National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND)

We are proud to induct National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in the State of Illinois in 2003, and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. NOND is celebrating its 15th Anniversary Year in 2018! NOND is the only organization like it in the world.

NOND Mission: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities is an open membership, cross-disability, professional organization that works to promote EQUITY for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions in nursing through education and advocacy.

  • Five nurses with disabilities founded the organization because they believed nurses with disabilities should lead and speak on their own behalf.
  • NOND does not have any paid staff. Directors are volunteers and contribute their personal time and resources to fulfill their responsibilities in assuming the leadership, operational and programmatic initiatives for the organization.
  • Bylaws require 60% of the NOND Board of Directors to be people with disabilities, where the majorities are nurses with disabilities. Most Directors are employed outside of NOND in full time work within the healthcare or social service sector, and are geographically dispersed across the US.
  • NOND provides mentoring through “Contact Us” at www.nond.org where a new website is under construction, and though NOND2003@gmail.com. NOND follows up by email or at times with telephone contact.

NOND recognized the need to mentor youth, students and nurses with disabilities as early as 2004, in order to support, encourage, provide resources, and referral that assists in reducing the sense of isolation. NOND works to educate on building stronger self-advocacy skills that contribute to a heightened sense of self-confidence and self-identity that enhances independence and self-determination. NOND’s message is knowledge is power; follow your dream of becoming a nurse, or continue within the nursing profession. Many NOND Directors and Advisory Committee members who have the same or similar disability as youth, students and nurses with disabilities act as mentors.

A student who was to enter a nursing program that has low vision contacted NOND and requested that she be connected with someone that may have gone through nursing school with low vision. A connection was made with one of NOND’s Directors and the mentoring began.

Many youth with disabilities do not know that they can be a nurse. A high school student that has Cerebral Palsy contacted NOND to learn if she could be a nurse. Since NOND had been in contact with a new graduate nurse who has Cerebral Palsy and with others in the past, NOND responded. The youth exclaimed, “I am thrilled to know that I could be a nurse! Thank you so much!!”

Some students with disabilities experience difficulties in being successful in nursing programs because they do not know how to disclose their disability and request reasonable accommodations. Many have been poorly educated about disclosure and next steps upon entering an institution of higher education. For example, a student with learning disabilities was forced to withdraw from a nursing school because he failed his first semester. He contacted NOND. He was not aware of the Student Access Office or Disability Services staff available on campus. Several options were discussed and he was referred to additional resources, including obtaining documentation of his disability from his physician. Once provided with support, encouragement, and educated on how to request accommodations that could enhance his academic performance, he intends to submit an application to another nursing school.

Some nurses who develop disabilities or chronic health conditions after they have received their license are not sure they can continue in nursing. After NOND responds and connects them with a mentor, nurses with disabilities share, “I had no idea that nurses, even those with very significant disabilities can continue in nursing! We just have to “tweak” our careers!”

Since NOND has been contacted by hundreds of youth and other constituents with disabilities for many years; NOND has extensive knowledge of the success people with disabilities are experiencing as students and as nurses with disabilities in the workforce.

As well, NOND is keenly aware of the challenges and barriers that continue to exist in the acceptance of students and nurses with disabilities as healthcare professionals. NOND’s work in the provision of education, advocacy, resources, information and referral, mentoring and providing support continues.