Open the Door, Get ‘Em a Locker

This documentary film produced by Bronwynne Evans, RN, PhD and Beth Marks, RN, PhD chronicles the experience of a nursing student who entered a baccalaureate program using a wheelchair. The 23 minute film provides a forum for the voices of nursing students, faculty, administrators, and agency nursing staff to discuss trials and triumphs encountered during this experience. It is a real life example of the exploration of roles and responsibilities in nursing education, experiential learning, shifting perspectives, and being a part of old ways turning into new ways in the world of nursing.

00:01Copy video clip URL Video opens with piano music at the Washington State University College of Nursing ceremony for graduating nurses. Graduate Victoria Christensen comes to the stage to speak, along with her service dog. 

01:05Copy video clip URL Title card, “Open the Door, Get ‘Em a Locker: Educating Nursing Students with Disabilities”

01:33Copy video clip URL Christensen shows us around the nursing lab where skills are learned. 

02:36Copy video clip URL Christensen shares her story from childhood to traveling as a young adult, losing her husband, and becoming disabled after a car crash. 

03:58Copy video clip URL Dorothy Detlor, professor and dean of WSU College of Nursing, discusses that the term ‘disabilities’ brings up issues in nursing as far as who can be a nurse. Naomi Lungstrom, clinical assistant professor at WSU, mentions that objections against disabled nurses came from people’s insecurities and doubts. 

04:41Copy video clip URL Carole Allen, clinical associate professor, responds to a question on how she prepared to have Christensen, a disabled nursing student who uses a wheelchair, participate in clinical. Allen answers the question by saying she let Christensen guide her on what she needed. 

05:39Copy video clip URL Anne Hirsch shares that some faculty at the college were concerned with Christensen’s needs as a disabled person and it’s challenges to the traditional standards of the nursing profession. 

06:18Copy video clip URL Lynn Onley shares that she feared the staff nurses in clinical would be apprehensive about a person in a wheelchair being able to keep up with the busy unit. 

07:52Copy video clip URL Christensen shares her experiences with people belittling her or treating her differently than able-bodied people in the profession. 

10:28Copy video clip URL A group of students share some of the negative things said about Christensen behind her back. 

12:27Copy video clip URL Christensen explains that her job is IV therapy, which she describes as “Very simple work.”

14:32Copy video clip URL Bronwynne Evans, associate professor, shares that “Nurses with disabilities bring everything that all other nurses bring, including a deep understanding of diability issues that the rest of us don’t have” and says that Christensen’s clients established a “very rapid identification with her.”

15:57Copy video clip URL Christensen shows us around the Otis Hotel in Spokane, Washington. She explains most of the people that are there are low income and as a community health nurse she chose this environment because the people there lacked services. 

18:12Copy video clip URL Christensen shares some thoughts on going to nursing school and working as a nurse while being a disabled person. 

19:18Copy video clip URL “We’re oppressive to people because were in a position of power and we forget that sometimes” says Allen. Allen shares that she appreciates having students who are different. 

20:23Copy video clip URL “If there were a school out there that were going to admit a student with a disability, I would tell them to let that student in and just let that student learn and have all the opportunities they need to have to complete that degree. . . Open the door, get ’em a locker.” says Christensen.

21:09Copy video clip URL Credits 







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