Student nurse, Catherine, found healthcare professionals gave mixed reactions to her dyslexia diagnosis
If someone were to ask me two years ago to create a piece of writing to be read by any number of people, I would have been petrified; but starting university two years ago and finally getting that diagnosis of dyslexia has given me so much more confidence in my writing ability.
Throughout my time at school, I was constantly told by teachers that I would never get anywhere in life, but I was determined to prove them wrong. So after getting my A levels, I applied to university to study my life’s passion: nursing.
During the first year of my course I was advised to take a test to screen for learning disabilities and after a number of tests with a psychiatrist, I finally got the diagnosis that I was always waiting for – I was dyslexic.
It may sound strange but I was so thankful for being dyslexic because at least I could then stand up and say that I am not stupid or useless, but that there’s actually a reason for the way things were.
“It may sound strange but I was so thankful for being dyslexic”
The university have been amazing with the support they have given me; I have a tutor to assist me with organisation skills and proof reading, and software that makes reading off a screen easier.
However, this support doesn’t always show in placements. Some staff I’ve worked with have been very supportive with my learning, giving me enough time to read through a patients notes, for example, or by sitting down and explaining how to fill in forms. But other staff I’ve come across simply can’t see why I face these difficulties.
One of my biggest problems is filling in forms. As many nurses and allied healthcare professionals will know, the NHS and other healthcare services are full of forms and paperwork that needs to be filled out for every single patient.
“the NHS and other healthcare services are full of forms and paperwork”
The other day I explained to a colleague that I wanted to stay within the trust I am currently training in because I’m familiar with the paperwork. When I politely explained why, their reply was that paperwork is always changing and that I was using my dyslexia as an excuse.
I have gone through numerous placements where it wasn’t until the last week or day that I informed them of my learning disability. Many colleagues have been surprised as they’d made comments about how good my written communication skills are.
Statistics show that between 3-10% of the nursing population admit to having dyslexia. With such a large number of nurses with the condition, the reaction it receives from some healthcare professionals is shocking.
With my role as a Care Maker and the role I have at training, I am more determined than ever to provide solidarity to those who have been in situations like mine.
Catherine Jelly is in her third year studying adult nursing at University of Bedfordshire