It is Nurse Appreciation Week and we want to send a big shout out to all of the heroic nurses who are working on the frontlines to keep people safe. We especially want to highlight the incredible developmental disability (DD) nurses who are working harder than ever to keep individuals safe and healthy. DD nurses are highly specialized healthcare professionals who are trained to understand the nuances and considerations necessary to provide the best possible care to individuals.
Nurses are stepping up to expand their roles!
Nurses wear a myriad of hats on a normal day, but during the pandemic their role is extended. They are acting as educators, trainers, and companions. As healthcare experts, many nurses are responsible for educating their employers, colleagues, and the individuals they support on proper standards and practices to prevent risk of infection. They are training others on how to make masks and wipes, how to thoroughly wash hands, and how to properly sanitize surfaces. Stress is high and social isolation and loneliness are major factors on mental health during this pandemic. Nurses are also providing check-ins and support – sometimes it’s as simple as taking the time to listen to fears and talk through them.
“DD nurses have stepped up – I have never been so impressed with a group of people.”
– Kathy Brown
Past President, DDNA* Board of Directors
Providing essential support 24/7
Many agencies have asked for nurses and other direct support professionals to volunteer to live in the residential facilities where they work to ensure individuals are properly supported and to reduce exposure. Trinity Services Inc., a MediSked client in Illinois, was highlighted by the Chicago Sun Times for this live-in model. DD nurses provide care for tens to hundreds of individuals and many smaller providers have just one nurse for an entire agency. For many individuals across the country, these nurses are the only healthcare professionals that people have access to. Their service is essential, and we appreciate the sacrifice that many nurses are making to ensure they can provide care.
*The Developmental Disability Nurses Association (DDNA) is a nursing specialty organization whose mission is to educate, empower, and advocate for nurses practicing in the specialty of developmental disability nursing. We will be sharing profiles on some of the extraordinary DD nurses who are working on the frontlines in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for their stories!