Developmental Disability Nurse

Care for patients who are physically, mentally or emotionally handicapped.
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Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$44,000 – $95,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Developmental Disability Nurses do?

Nurses care for patients. A Developmental Disability Nurse specializes in caring for patients with physical or mental disabilities. The job may involve short-term care (such as that required following an injury) or long-term reliance (such as chronic physical disabilities).

As a Developmental Disability Nurse, you’re part Physical Therapist, part Counselor, and part Personal Assistant. Your job varies depending on where you work.

While some Developmental Disability Nurse positions have you working with patients on an outpatient basis, others allow you to travel to each patient’s home. Other job opportunities exist at nursing homes, senior centers, psychiatric units, rehabilitation centers, clinics, and hospitals. In fact, there are jobs all around the world if travel is your passion.

Regardless of where you perform your nursing duties, much of your job involves aiding the patient in the day-to-day functions of self-care. That can mean feeding, bathing, and dressing. It also means challenging the patient to improve their ability to care for themselves. It’s a careful balance of gentle nudging, encouraging, and understanding, while using your nursing skills to avoid injury and aid in recovery.

As a Developmental Disability Nurse, you don’t work alone. You’re part of a medical and emotional support team that helps the patient get through each day. Strong communication skills help you relay medical information to Physical Therapists, Psychiatrists, and family members alike.

Should I be a Developmental Disability Nurse?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to Become a
    Developmental Disability Nurse

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