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Linda Ford obtains Developmental Disability Certificate

Linda Ford, LPN, DDC
Southside Virginia Training Center
Petersburg, Virginia

Southside Virginia Training Center is honored to have Linda Ford, LPN, DDC to accomplish another milestone in her career by obtaining her Developmental Disability Certificate. Mrs. Ford is a dedicated nurse with a caring heart and sincere love for the clients and Southside Virginia Training Center. Mrs. Ford shares with us in “My Story” how she accomplished her certification.

My Story

I can remember my first time ever hearing anything about the Developmental Disability National Association (D.D.N.A); It was a few years ago when Kathy Rovinski, now the Director of Nursing, Southside Virginia Training Center passed the test and became certified. I was happy for her and can remember talking to her about how hard the test had been. I was glad for her accomplishment and knew that it was something not too many nurses had pursued.

An email was sent asking if anyone would be interested in attending the D.D.N.A Conference in Florida during April. I am not known as a world traveler, scared of flying, get motion sickness, and a homebody that likes to stay near my husband. I threw caution to the wind this time and told Kathy that I would like to go along. It really seemed like something that I wanted to learn more about beginning my real interest in the D.D.N.A.

I first had to find out about becoming a member of the association. I got the application and completed all the paperwork proving that I had been in the developmentally disabled field of nursing long enough to qualify for membership. I mailed my forms back and waited to find out if I had been approved. After getting my approval from the association I filled out the final paperwork and became a member. I read up on whatever I could find about the D.D.N.A. mission statement and functions. I decided that since I had the opportunity to attend a conference I wanted to see if I could pass the certification test. I felt that it would help me learn more about the field of nursing I have chosen to work in resulting in a positive outcome for me and the clients I serve. Along with my decision to take the test came more paperwork. Forms requested, filled out, sent back, approved, date set; nothing left to do except study and wait for the time to test. Oh, and fly on the dreaded airplane to get there.

Kathy Rovinski and I arrived in Daytona Beach, Florida along with about 600 other nurses from all parts of the country. It was different and exciting for this county girl and if it weren’t for Kathy I would have been lost in the mix. I was nervous about testing and it seemed like everywhere I went someone was talking about how hard the test was. Each nurse that was already certified had a special ribbon on their name tag. I was thinking that maybe next time I could wear one, too. I ran into others that were going to test the same day as me and they were as nervous as I was. I would sit in the hotel room and study at night and sometimes in the mornings. I went out to the beach front and sat on a bench the night before the test and when I closed the book that time I was finished. I either knew the information or I didn’t. (Sneaking a few prayers in every now and then didn’t hurt any either.)

The morning of the 25th all of the “testers” (approximately 30 took the test) met in the designated area to check in and “worry” one more time as a group. Then we were all loaded onto a chartered bus to go to the test site at the university. Upon our arrival to the site we were checked in, once more, and escorted to our test areas. The RN’s tested in one area and the LPN’s in another. Each group had two proctors assigned to them and they were with their assigned group from the hotel, during the test, and back to the hotel.
Once situated at our computer stations we were (thoroughly) told everything we needed to know. (I can only compare the experience to the way I felt when I took my state boards.) One by one we completed our test and gathered outside in the courtyard. During the bus ride back to the hotel I overheard one poor lady say that it was the third time she had tested and, pass or fail, it would be her last time. To make matters worse we were told it may take six weeks to get the results. Kathy assured me that wouldn’t be the case, but, I fretted over that, too. I am in the process of taking classes to get my RN degree and I take all of my tests at a prometric testing center. I get my results right away, so, any wait at all seemed like forever. The one positive aspect for me was the fact that I did take the test and the actual testing part was behind me.

Back at home I managed to stay busy. I had enjoyed my trip very much and now it was back to life as I know it. My husband, Glenn, and I have one 16 year old son, 5 horses and 7 dogs that keep us running. That is why I take college courses online. I don’t know where I would find the time to go to class and keep home going also. (I know where there is a will there is a way.) At any rate, I didn’t have too much time to worry about the test results until each day when Glenn and I would leave for work. We both work 3-11 so we check the mail on our way out. Approximately 3 weeks after I took the test I did my routine mail check and I am sure Glenn thought I had lost my mind. The envelope from the D.D.N.A. was now in my hand and, even though I hadn’t yet opened it, I was hopping and skipping the whole way across the road back to the car. (I think I recall a bit of yelling, too.) Glenn didn’t realize that the envelope was addressed to Linda Ford, LPN, DDC. I saw that part and got so excited. I finally opened the big envelope and read my congratulatory letter and got my certificate. I was proud, happy, and very relieved. I called Kathy Rovinski at work and when she took the call the first thing she heard was “I PASSED!!!!” I never even said hello to her. That is how thrilled I was to get the news. I don’t regret making the decision to take the test. (Of course that seems easy to say since I know now that I passed.) In the event that I hadn’t passed I would have felt like I had to try again. It really meant something to me personally to be able to do this.

I would encourage other nurses that are interested to challenge themselves and sit for the test. It takes some effort, but, the end result is so satisfying. I learned things I never knew and there is so much more to learn. My co-workers have been so kind since learning of my certification and I would like to thank everyone for their support. I especially owe thanks to Kathy Rovinski for allowing me the opportunity to go to the conference. It made it much easier for me to test. I would like to think that I can use my newly gained knowledge to somehow be a better nurse to our clients. They give so much to us in return.

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