Developmental disability nurses, or special needs nurses, are trained to care for individuals with conditions which result in developmental disabilities. This entails caring for newborns, children, and adults who suffer from a wide range of disabilities which include Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome, and other developmental disorders. Developmental disability nurses are one of a number of healthcare professionals who provide important services to developmentally delayed patients and are tasked with assisting patients with eating, teaching language and movement skills, and more.
Tasks commonly carried out by developmental disability nurses may include:
Developmental disability nurses generally care for patients in the following environments:
All nurses should be compassionate, empathetic, and patient. However, these three qualities can't be overstated when it comes to developmental disability nurses. If you possess these traits and think that a career in this specialty is for you, the right mix of nursing education and clinical experience will be required.
Like many other nursing specialties, developmental disability nurses always must first become RNs by graduating with either an ADN or BSN degree from an accredited academic institution. Upon graduating and then passing the NCLEX-RN, individuals become fully licensed via their state's governing body. RNs must work two or more years in settings where they'll be exposed to patients with developmental disabilities in order to be eligible for the specialty certification.
Yes, developmental disability nurses must have an active and unrestricted registered nurses license and should have a couple of years of clinical experience in the field in order to be eligible for certification. Many hospitals and medical facilities will prefer a BSN degree for the role.
The Developmental Disability Nurses Association represents the organizational body that grants certifications, developmental disability nurses.
In order to be eligible for certification, you must meet the following criteria:
Rates of autism in America are higher than they've ever been before and only continue to climb. Because individuals who are on the autism spectrum represent a significant percentage of the patients that developmental disability nurses care for, these nurses can expect to be needed for the foreseeable future.
According to ZipRecruiter, the current national average salary of a developmental disability nurse is around $50,471 annually. Factors that will determine how much a developmental disability nurse is paid include things like the location of their employment, the employing organization, how much clinical experience in the field they have, their education levels, and other credentials that they may have. In addition to the salaries that these nurses receive, it also isn't uncommon for employers to give them a mileage stipend since visiting the homes of patients is often an aspect of the profession. Additionally, developmental disability nurses who are employed full-time can expect to receive a number of benefits from their employers. Generally included in these benefits are things like medical, dental, vision, and some annual sick-leave or paid-time-off. This will vary from employer to employer, however.