Developmental Disabilities Nurse – Career and Education Profile

Developmental disabilities nurses work with patients from all walks of life who are dealing with physical and mental handicaps as a result of genetic disease, birth defects, or other medical problems that manifested before the age of 18.

Job Responsibilities

As a developmental disabilities nurse, your duties will likely include tasks such as assisting with daily hygiene, feeding patients, talking to friends and family, preparing patients for treatment or physical therapy, monitoring progress, and recording vital signs. You could work with patients who are dealing with a single type of developmental disability, or you could work with patients who are dealing with a wide range of problems. Some developmental disabilities nurses work with a specific age group, such as children, while others work at a facility that specializes in a certain type of treatment. You’ll also be tasked with watching for signs of infection, medication complication, or other problems that could lead to serious complications and risks for the patient.

Salary and Career Options

The amount of money you make as a developmental disabilities nurse will depend on your level of education. According to reports, LPNs typically make between $34,000 and $44,000 annually while RNs make an average salary of about $55,000. You can make more money by specializing in one area of developmental disabilities, especially in a specific area where there is high demand, such as autism.

Educational Requirements

To become a developmental disabilities nurse, you need to at least become an LPN, but many nurses go on to earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in the field, allowing them to become an RN. You can also take the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association exam, which allows you to become certified in this field, but this is not required to work in developmental disability nursing roles. Your classes will focus on caring for patients in a long-term situation by managing pain, encouraging mobility, and more so that you’re prepared to help patients have the best quality of life possible.


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