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Is it a good idea or a dead end to start out working at a facility for adults with intellectual disabilities?



Dear Donna,

Is it a good career move or a dead end to start out working at a facility for adults with intellectual disabilities?

Doesn’t Want A Dead-End Career

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Doesn’t Want A Dead-End Career,

I am presuming you are a new nurse looking her first job. If you are unable to find something in a setting you’d like to work in (presuming working with adults with intellectual disabilities is not it), then starting in this type of facility may not be a bad thing to do as long as the company/facility is reputable and will provide some support for you as a new nurse.

This certainly is not a dead end specialty to work in. Some nurses build an entire career around it. Learn more through the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association ( I encourage you to contact the president (or other officers) of your state chapter of this association and do an informational interview ( with him/her to find out as much as you can about this type of work. Ask about the particular facility you are considering working for, too.

If you do start working in this type of facility, join and get active in DDNA to increase your learning curve and to gain ongoing support and education.

For other advice on how to find a job, read the article “New nurse, new job strategies”

Best wishes,



About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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