Some people have a medical condition which is unseen and which they normally manage by themselves, without seeking assistance from those around them. They often do not consider themselves to be disabled or as having any particular needs. However, certain situations, including some found on fieldwork, may cause problems. Examples of such medical conditions include asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, musculoskeletal disorders, lung and kidney complaints, heart problems and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME). (Mental health problems may also be exacerbated during fieldwork as a result of unfamiliar situations, social anxieties and the loss of normally available support agencies - see guide on Providing Learning Support for Students with Mental Health Difficulties)
The above list is by no means exhaustive but it does serve to illustrate the wide spectrum of disabilities and medical conditions of which staff need to be mindful. Of course, academics are not expected to be experts in medicine. They should, however, have basic first-aid training and a general awareness of the possible implications of fieldwork activities for the most common medical conditions. They should also know where to obtain expert advice.
Page updated 14 December 2001
GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 118 9