Professionalism and disabled clinicians: the client’s perspective

Tal Jarus, Roberta Bezati, Sacha Trivett, Michael Lee, Laura Yvonne Bulk, Alfiya Battalova, Yael Mayer, Susan Murphy, Patricia Gerber, Donna Drynan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disabled individuals are significantly underrepresented as care providers within the healthcare system. One of the institutional barriers are professional competencies established from an ableist viewpoint. We investigated the client’s perspectives on the professionalism of disabled clinicians. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with twenty-seven disabled and non-disabled participants. Participants were asked about their expectations and perceptions of professionalism from disabled clinicians. Three themes were identified: Positive impacts - highlighting the benefits of having disabled clinicians; As long as… - suggesting that professionalism should not be impacted provided that certain criteria are met; and to disclosure or not to disclose - providing rationale for and against disclosure of a disability to a client. Results challenge ableist beliefs about what constitutes professional behaviour and suggest that health professions should adopt a non-ableist appreciation for the contributions of disabled clinicians and foster the inclusion of disabled clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1102
Number of pages18
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Professionalism
  • client perspective
  • client-centered practice
  • disability
  • disclosure
  • essential competencies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions
  • General Social Sciences


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