Supporting disabled students on placement


  • Alison Jithoo Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Health
  • Denise Parker Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Health



The Disability Coordinator (DisCo) is a liaison role which allows a communication channel and link between the Disability Advice Team and the relevant School.    


Within the Nursing and Allied Health Faculty, 50% of students’ Programme and learning will be based on Practice Placement experience. Therefore, the role of the DisCO-NAH expands to include support mechanisms for students whilst out on placement. This includes the facilitation of a Reasonable Adjustment Plan for Practice (RAPP). Indication for a RAPP will either come from the Disability Advice Team or the recommendations from an Occupational Health report. 


DisCo-NAH have, in the last 12 months, completed 63 RAPPs, for Nursing and Allied Health students with increasingly complex conditions. DisCo-NAH are aware of 17 students who are autistic or have ADHD (or are under investigation). There are a number of RAPPs put in place to support students with mental health conditions including anxiety, as well as physical health, including hearing impairment, diabetes and chronic back pain.   


The RAPP is developed and individualised with the student, for the student. The form has been updated and streamlined with common prompts for reasonable adjustments, this includes an option for ‘time-out’ as well as empowering the student to be able to discuss this with their Practice Assessor at initial interview.    


RAPPs are now uploaded onto Student PARE as a PDF to enforce ownership and reduce reliance on an email being sent and actioned to the multiple placement areas a student may attend.   


The student has open access to approach the DisCo at any point throughout the programme to update and amend the RAPP as they require or gain experience of the placement setting.   Students have shown to be relieved that there is support for them, that they will not be held back and for a level of understanding. Once the RAPP is in place, students have fed back that they are able to enjoy and flourish whilst out on placement.   


Once in place, students have fed back that the plans are successful, and they feel better understood.





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