101 Careers in Nursing

By Jeanne M. Novotny; Doris T. Lippman et al. | Go to book overview
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Disabilities Nurse
1. Basic description—The role of a developmental disability nurse is to assist clients with mental and physical disabilities to live as normal and productive a life as possible. This might mean assisting clients with manual and recognition skills to enable them to carry out tasks related to maintaining activities of daily living or developing comprehensive plans with specific goals and objectives. Developmental disabilities nurses work in sheltered workshops, group homes, long-term care facilities, and schools.
2. Educational requirements—RN preparation; certification eligibility is available to RNs with a minimum of 4,000 hours (2 years full-time equivalent) of developmental disabilities nursing practice within the past 5 years.
3. Core competencies/skills needed:
Compassion and understanding of the total person with a disability
Excellent communication skills
Understanding of chronic long-term disabilities
Counseling skills for families
Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams
Promotes positive life experiences
Provides care for health and social needs
Understands physical disabilities and psychological/emotional needs
Promotes positive images of people with disabilities
Applies clinical and behavioral nursing interventions to meet the special health care needs of the individual
Acts in the capacity of advocate
Maximizes the client’s potential by referring to appropriate resources
Manages care by coordinating services
4. Compensation—Varies with place of employment and geographic location.
5. Employment outlook—Moderate
6. Related Web site and professional organization:
Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association (DDNA): www.ddna.org


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101 Careers in Nursing
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