Every October National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is celebrated throughout the country. The month is a great way to recognize employed individuals who have disabilities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, 19.1% of persons with a disability were employed, up from 17.9% in 2020. Some of the increase can be traced back to COVID-19.
There are many nurses with disabilities who are doing great work in the field. In this post, we will highlight the following:
- The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month
- How hospitals and nurses can celebrate NDEAM in the workplace
The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month
In 1945, the U.S. Congress introduced a law declaring the first week of October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, Congress dropped the term “physically” to account for individuals with all kinds of disabilities, not just physical.
In 1988, Congress included the whole month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
How hospitals and nurses can celebrate NDEAM
Hospitals and nurses can celebrate the month in many different ways. Some of the main ways suggested by the U.S. Department of Labor include: creating a display, training administration, creating an employee resource group, educating employees, featuring NDEAM in social media posts, and participating in disability mentoring day.
Creating a display
One of the ways that a hospital can show support for National Disability Employment Awareness Month includes posting a display in break rooms or other areas frequented by nurses. These displays can consist of encouraging messages regarding the hospital’s commitment to a disability-inclusive workplace. Hospitals can put up this year’s NDEAM poster, which is available in English and Spanish.
Administration plays a considerable role in developing an inclusive workplace for all employees. During NDEAM, try training the administrative team to make sure they comprehend how they can create a comprehensive workplace.
Create an employee resource group
With employee resource groups, employees have an opportunity to receive support from others who have similar backgrounds or interests. At a hospital, there can be an employee resource group, particularly for people with disabilities. It’s an excellent way for employees to bond and share resources.
As part of NDEAM, it’s essential to educate employees by offering disability training. There are many local disability organizations available to provide workplace training programs.
Promote National Disability Employment Awareness Month in social media posts
A great way to spread awareness about NDEAM is to post about it across social media platforms. Hospitals that choose to post should use the hashtag #NDEAM.
Participate in disability mentoring day
One of the more exciting ways that hospitals can celebrate NDEAM includes participating in disability mentoring day. Disability mentoring day allows for youth with disabilities to job shadow and participate in ongoing mentoring. Nationwide this month is celebrated on the third Wednesday of each October. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) offers information to help implement a Disability Mentoring Day event.
Final Thoughts on National Disability Employment Awareness Month
NDEAM provides an excellent opportunity for nurses and hospitals to celebrate and promote people with disabilities in the workplace.
The nursing field has done a great job of actively recruiting people of all different backgrounds, but continued work needs to be done in employing people with disabilities.
People with disabilities round out an organization and may help patients with disabilities feel more comfortable, as representation is essential.