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Project Objectives

The teaching objectives for the Student Clinician Modules are taken from two sources. First, the following objectives were taken from the Statement on the Scope and Standards for the Nurse Who Specializes in Developmental Disabilities and/or Mental Retardation. We have expanded these objectives to include the roles of both nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

    1. The clinician respects the person's right to self-determination and includes the person in decisions as appropriate to his or her capacity to reason and the degree of impact of the decision on the person's life.
    2. The clinician acts as an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation and their families when appropriate.
    3. The clinician teaches individuals and families to advocate for themselves.
    4. The clinician assures the individual's and family's right to privacy and confidentiality; except when consent to share information has been given by the individual and/or legal guardian.
    5. The clinician delivers care in a nonjudgmental and nondiscriminatory manner that is sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity among individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation and their families.
    6. The clinician contributes to the educational program recommendations and advocates for the least restrictive environment to maximize the person's potential.
    7. The clinician serves as an advocate to ensure that individuals have access to health care that provides continuity and is provided by a practitioner competent to manage the health concerns of persons with developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation.
    8. The clinician participates in the decision making process to assure that the use of medications, treatment routines, health, developmental and behavioral assessments, dietary regimens and therapies are appropriate.
    9. The clinician facilitates the person's expression of sexuality in a manner that is consistent with the person's native culture, religious upbringing, and level of maturity, and provides counseling as appropriate. The clinician contributes to an environment that protects the person from sexual exploitation in home, school, work and community.
    10. The clinician advocates for appropriate leisure activities acceptable to the person.
    11. With other members of the interdisciplinary team, the clinician assists the individual with developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation in making decisions when appropriate.
    12. The clinician working in the field of developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation recognizes and respects the contributions of the individual, the family, professional colleagues and community representatives.
    13. The clinician articulates knowledge and skills so that they may be coordinated with the contributions of the individual, family or significant others, and other professional colleagues working with an individual with developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation or a community agency.
    14. The clinician makes referrals and provides follow-up care to assure the quality and continuity of care.

In addition to the above 14 objectives, our Core Development Team identified the following objectives as also important for these two interactive cases:

    1. The clinician addresses the appropriate person/people in the health care interaction, including the individual with a disability.
    2. The clinician identifies the specific medical issues that are at the basis of the visit, and does not assume that all medical concerns are simply the result of the person's disability.
    3. The clinician is able to clearly ascertain that all individuals with a certain disability are not alike, and that prior experiences with individuals with a specific disability do not necessarily 'transfer' to a new patient with the same disability.
    4. The clinician acknowledges that the parent is the expert in the child's care, patterns and routines, and conducts the visit in recognition of the parent's expertise.
    5. The clinician understands special issues that surround specific disabilities or delays (e.g., Down syndrome, extreme prematurity), especially for first time visits, and adjusts the visit accordingly.
    6. The clinician normalizes his or her responses when interacting with individuals with disabilities by treating the individual in age-appropriate manner.
    7. The clinician is able to approach each individual from a strength-based perspective, rather than viewing the disability or diagnosis as a "checklist" of negatives.
    8. The clinician actively engages, at the appropriate developmental level, the individual with a developmental disability or delay.
    9. The clinician recognizes the limitations of his/her own expertise.

Reference:

Statement on the Scope and Standards for the Nurse Who Specializes in Developmental Disabilities and/or Mental Retardation (n.d.). Washington, DC: American Association on Mental Retardation and American Nurses Association.