A developmental disability nurse (also referred to as a special needs nurse) is a nurse who provides medical care to individuals who are dealing with special needs such as those who have ADHD, autism, blindness, cystic fibrosis, down syndrome, dyslexia or other special needs.
Theses nurses provide medical care and developmental training to the patients they help in order to help their patient’s lead happy, healthy lives and improve their ability to handle basic and/or complex daily functions.
Depending on the level of care a patient may need the role and responsibilities of the developmental disability nurse may change.
Some patients may simply require occasional assistance with certain cognitive developmental skills.
In these cases a developmental disability nurse may perform cognitive tests and educate the individual on ways to improve their focus and attention.
In more intensive situations developmental disability nurses may see patients on a more frequent basis and work with directly families in order to help them develop essential skills for both basic and advanced daily activities.
At the highest level of developmental care patients may live in developmental homes or care facilities where they receive medical care and assistance with basic daily living on a 24/7 basis.
In these situations patient care may span from assisting patients with basic cognitive skills to full on care where a developmental disability nurse or nurse aide may assisting with cleaning and dressing a patient, administering medications, cooking and feeding and a host of other daily tasks.
Patients in these situations may also be sent to developmental schools where they spend time learning cognitive skills and performing recreational activities.
Developmental care covers a wide spectrum of activities and can span from occasional medical care and check ups for high functioning individuals to full on medical care and assistance with basic needs for those who require more intensive care.
As stated earlier not all individuals require advanced care and some may be able to lead happy, healthy lives with little to no supervision, however the aide of a developmental disability nurse may help these individuals maximize their potential and make the most of their disability.
Developmental disability nursing can be an extremely rewarding career for nurses allowing these healthcare professionals to develop long lasting relationships with their patients and form strong bonds that can last a lifetime.