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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*

Feeding Tubes In The Elderly Demented?

An article in [last] week’s New York Times entitled Feeding Demented Patients with Dignity suggests that hand feeding dementia patients may be a better option than tube feeding them.

My God, are we really putting feeding tubes in the elderly demented? When did this happen?

During college, I worked as a nurses aide in a nursing home outside Philadelphia. For 20 hours a week (40 hours in the summer) for two years, I cared for patients in all stages of dementia, from the walking confused through to the end stage, stiffened victims confined to wheelchairs or beds. But in all that time, I never, ever saw anyone with a feeding tube. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog that Ate Manhattan*

The Insulting Term “Physician Extender”

“Physician Extender.” It sounds like the name of a male enhancement product. It’s a term often used to describe a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant. I hate it. It’s insulting.

A nurse practitioner is not an adjunct physician. They do not supplement the care of a physician. They provide essential advance-practice nursing services, services that include diagnosis and provision of medical care.

While some of these services overlap those of medicine, nurse practitioners are not extensions of another profession, they provide care in their own right — as educated, licensed practitioners. Sometimes the only care provider for a community is a nurse practitioner. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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