State Nursing Licensure Questions About Mental Illness and Compliance With the Americans With Disabilities Act

Margaret J Halter, Donna G Rolin, Mona Adamaszek, Miles C Ladenheim, Bridget Frese Hutchens
Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 2019 April 11, : 1-6
The current article describes a review of U.S. states and the District of Columbia boards of nursing pre-licensure applications, which were collected, summarized, and evaluated to assess compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Less than one half (n = 21) of RN licensing boards do not ask questions about mental illness on pre-licensure applications. Of the 30 boards that ask questions about mental illness, eight focus on current disability, which is legal under the ADA. The remaining 22 boards ask non-ADA-compliant questions by targeting specific diagnoses, focusing on historical data in the absence of current impairment, and/or requiring a prediction of future impairment. Nursing boards are urged to join colleagues in law, psychology, and medicine in using ADA-acceptable applications by eliminating mental health questions or limiting them to current impairment queries. [Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, xx(x), xx-xx.].

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