FYI - The link for the Medical Review Coordinators Introduction Letter
should have been
Star and Tribune Interview with Teri Verner:
As published in 2/7/10 JOBS Section of the the Sunday Paper
For Group Home Residents
nursing is a multi-faceted specialty.
Teri Verner found her calling at age 16 when she took a job as a caregiver
in a group home for adults with disabilities. “I loved the work, and I’ve never left the field,” says Verner,
now nursing director for Dakota Communities (www.dakotacommunities.org).
Many people served by Dakota Communities have developmental disabilities. As
they grow older, their medical and mental health needs often become complex. Some adults with Down syndrome, for example,
develop early Alzheimer’s. People with other developmental disorders may develop challenging behaviors, need feeding
tubes or require oxygen.
The developmental disabilities nurse coordinates their care, serving as a medical
liaison to staff, county workers, families or legal guardians, clinics and healthcare professionals.
A Multi-faceted Job
Nurses usually work at multiple sites, spending a day or more at each over
the course of a week, overseeing the day-to-day care that individual clients receive and making adjustments based on changes
as they occur.
They assess patients, talk to caregivers and review medical records. They also
provide hands-on nursing services such as wound care.
When necessary, nurses also advocate for patients. They may suggest, for example,
that doctors adjust medication or order certain tests. “You need good assessment and triage skills because many clients
are nonverbal or have a limited ability to communicate,” Verner says.
Developmental disabilities nurses also train caregivers to administer medication,
operate equipment and perform care procedures like blood glucose monitoring or nebulizer treatments.
“Experience is the key to success in this field,” Verner says.
She recommends that new graduates and other nurses who want to enter the field seek internships or look for employers who
provide on-the-job mentoring. Another good source of information is the Minnesota Metro Developmental Disabilities Nursing