Prosthetic Categories

Nurse Challenges Navy Regulations Discriminating Against Disabled People

    Hannah Cvancara is an Orthopaedic nurse with unilateral below-knee limb loss. Born into a military family, she aspired to serve the country as a military nurse and use her skills to contribute to the well-being of service members. However, despite her qualifications, the Navy classified her as “medically disqualifying” because she uses a manufactured prosthetic left leg.

     An orthopedic nurse challenges Navy regulations that discriminate against disabled people.

    Cvancara lost her left leg below the knee due to a congenital condition called Fibular Hemimelia at the age of one. Despite these obstacles, she pursued her passion for nursing, obtaining her BSN degree from four different colleges in six years while undergoing multiple surgeries and military relocations.

    Despite surpassing the Navy’s physical requirements, Cvancara’s pre-existing amputation automatically disqualified her. She highlights the inconsistency in allowing disabled individuals who become disabled in service to continue serving while excluding those with pre-existing disabilities.

    Cvancara emphasizes the need for nurses within the military and questions why qualified candidates like herself are turned away. The current blanket policy excludes prior amputees from service, citing potential accommodations that may hinder deployability. However, Cvancara argues that this policy fails to account for individuals who are both physically and mentally capable of serving.

    Cvancara advocates for a case-by-case approach to evaluating candidates’ abilities. She believes non-disabled and disabled individuals should be held to the same performance standards. By measuring capabilities based on performance rather than bias, the military can tap into a pool of capable and patriotic defenders.

    In 2021, she petitioned Congress and garnered support from politicians and officials nationwide to initiate a hearing on disability reform in the military. As of March 1, 2024, the Hannah Cvancara Act continues to gain momentum. She’s slated to lobby for the bill in front of Congress.

    Since she began the fight against discriminating regulations in the military, Cvancara’s goal has shifted from wanting to enter the Navy Nurse Corps to being an Air Force Flight nurse. But she still wants to help others who have similar dreams. In an interview with, Cvancara expressed optimism about the bill’s outcome and hoped it would encourage more people to consider a career in the military.

    Cvancara’s story of fighting to change the system and create a more inclusive environment for qualified candidates who are physically and mentally capable of serving is inspiring. Her story is one of perseverance, determination, and a deep commitment to public service despite the struggles she may be dealing with due to her limb loss.