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An Interview With A Developmental Disabilities Nurse

For my first interview, I thought I’d interview someone who would tolerate my novice interviewing abilities — my mother. Ginny, RN, BS, DDRN has been a nurse for over 30 years, most of that time in the Intensive Care Unit. (The apple did not fall far, did it?) She currently works as Developmental Disabilities Nurse and has done so for nine years.

A developmental disability is defined by Wikipedia as a term used in the United States and Canada to describe life-long disability attributable to mental and/or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18.” Ginny says that her clients have a range of mental and physical disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, mental retardation, and autism, with autism being the most prevalent. Her clients live in normal houses along with nurse’s aides and “direct support professionals” (DSPs).

How did you get started as a Developmental Disability Nurse?

A friend encouraged me to come work with her after I lost my job when they closed the children’s home where I had been working.

Do you like it?

I have had other nursing jobs including med-surg, peds, ICU, factory nurse, WIC nurse, children’s home nurse, and finally this job. I have liked all of my jobs but this has been the most rewarding. The people I care for just love it when the nurse comes around. There is always a “thank you” in their eyes.

What frustrates you about your job?

It is, of course, a job which requires state controls. Their idea of “nursing” is an awful lot of useless paperwork that makes no sense to me. The pay is not commensurate with other nursing jobs considering the reponsibilites of delegating nursing tasks to laypersons. There are so many things these people need and it’s hard to get. There are so many state mandates that are designed to move people toward being as independent as possible but the mandates also make us take many steps backward in that process. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*

New Research On Alzheimer’s Disease

Data presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Honolulu this week indicated that exercise and adequate vitamin D levels could help reduce risk for the disorder. Framingham Heart Study researchers found that risk for dementia was halved in “moderate to heavy exercisers” compared with more sedentary people, while researchers on a separate study found that vitamin D deficiency can greatly increase risk for mental impairment.

Another study found that injecting the compound florbetapir into the brain of patients with dementia and then performing a PET scan could help pinpoint the size and location of plaques.

Researchers also reported that tea consumption was linked to a slower rate of cognitive decline in older adults without cognitive impairment, but there was no dose response and more studies will need to be done to determine a definitive link. (CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Medscape)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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