This position is located at the Brooklyn Campus of the NY Harbor Healthcare System. The Orientation/Mobility Specialist functions independently in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, educational institutions and home environments. The work environment may be in an office, clinical setting, classroom, private home, VA grounds, nursing home, community sites, and hospitals. BASIC REQUIREMENTS. Citizenship. [Be a citizen of the United States. (Non-citizens may be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3.g., of this part.) Education (1) The individual must have earned: (a) A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major field of study in blind or vision rehabilitation, closely related program in rehabilitation, special education for the visually impaired, family and consumer science education, or technology and industrial arts education. OR, (b) A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (without a major field of study as outlined in (1)(a) above) that included, or was supplemented by, at least one of the following: i. At least 30 semester hours of directly related, upper level undergraduate courses (e.g., at least 200-course level or higher, or as identified by the college or university). ii. One full year of directly related graduate level coursework (typically at least 15 -18 semester hours). iii. A certificate from an accredited college or university in the core curriculum in orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy, assistive technology for blind and visually impaired individuals, or low vision therapy and a directly related practicum/internship in the occupation, either included in the degree or post-degree. iv. Foreign Graduates must have proof of a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (or foreign equivalent, as verified through an independent credential evaluation company), with a specialization in blind rehabilitation. Certification. (1) Applicants must possess at least one active, current, full and unrestricted certification to be eligible for appointment. Certification must be granted by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP), or another equivalent, closely related professional credential in special education or rehabilitation. The ACVREP administers three certification programs: Low Vision Therapy, Orientation and Mobility, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. Low Vision Therapists Must BE Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVT®). OR, Individuals appointed based on experience as a Social Worker must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master's degree level. A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master's degree in social work. If appointed as a VIST Coordinator, Social Workers are appointed to the GS-0601 series, but must still maintain a full, valid, and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment, OR, (d) Individuals appointed based on experience in other health care occupations must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice in their field. If appointed as a VIST Coordinator, such individuals are appointed to the GS-0601 series, but must still maintain their full, valid, and unrestricted independent license or certification in their occupation to remain qualified for employment. Loss of Credential (1) Once certified, a BRS must maintain a full, valid, and unrestricted independent certification to remain qualified for employment. Loss of certification will result in removal from the BRS occupation and may result in termination of employment. (2) A BRS who has, or has ever had his/her certification revoked, suspended, denied, restricted, limited, or issued/placed in a probationary status may be appointed only in accordance with the provisions in VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Chapter 3, Section B, Paragraph 16 of this part. (3) If hired based on experience as a social worker, rehabilitation counselor, or equivalent, relevant professional counseling credential in rehabilitation, the VIST Coordinator must still maintain a full, valid, and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment. Grandfathering Provision. All BRSs employed in VHA in this occupation on the effective date of this qualification standard are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series and grade held, including positive education and certification(s) that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements in this standard, but who met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed to it, the following provisions apply: (1) Such employees may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance (journey) level, or changed to lower grade within the occupation. (2) Employees who are appointed on a temporary basis prior to the effective date of the qualification standard may not have their temporary appointment extended or be reappointed, on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard. (3) Employees initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain additional education and/or certification(s) that meet all the basic requirements of this qualification standard must maintain the required equivalent credential(s) as a condition of employment in the occupation. (4) If a BRS who was retained under this provision leaves the occupation, the employee loses protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation. Physical Requirements. See VA Directive and Handbook 5019, Employee Occupational Health Service. English Language Proficiency. Candidates will not be appointed under authority of 38 U.S.C. chapters 73 or 74, to serve in a direct patient-care capacity in VHA who are not proficient in written and spoken English. See Chapter 2, section D, paragraph 5a, this part. GRADE DETERMINATIONS. In addition to the basic requirements, the following criteria must be used when determining the appropriate grade assignment of candidates. BRS, GS-11 (NOTE:] Full performance level for BRS who are not VIST Coordinators.) Experience. In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of one year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade. OR, Education. Three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Doctoral Degree; or Doctoral Degree in Blind Rehabilitation or a directly related field. Certification. Certification is required at this grade level and above. Staff BRS candidates must meet the certification requirements in paragraph 3c(1) above. BRSs at the GS-11 grade level must have at least one certification from ACVREP or a related, equivalent, professional certification. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to meeting the KSAs described at the GS-9 grade level, the candidate must demonstrate all the following KSAs: (a) Knowledge and understanding of highly specialized complex evaluations and diagnostic tests and procedures of blind/vision rehabilitation. (b) Ability to properly assess Veterans having diverse and multiple disabilities to make recommendations for blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic interventions. (c) Skill in writing a blind/vision rehabilitation plan that includes evaluation information from multiple disciplines with observable, measurable goals and that identifies specific outcomes. (d) Skill in instructional methods and learning principles. (e) Ability to employ interventions and unusual motivational techniques and coordinate treatment with other professionals to achieve outcomes of the rehabilitation plan. (f) Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision rehabilitation prosthetic devices for Veterans within scope of practice, making adaptations and modifications as required. Assignments. This is the full performance level for BRSs who are not VIST Coordinators. References: VA Handbook 5005/109 PART II APPENDIX G41 ["The orientation & mobility instructional area is designed to train persons to independently travel in a safe, efficient, effective and confident manner in both familiar and unfamiliar environments. Training focuses on teaching veterans to effectively use their remaining senses in combination with protective techniques and assistive devices. Travel devices include the long cane, support cane, low vision aids, and dog guide. This work involves evaluating and assessing needs, capabilities and limitations, goal setting and prescribing a treatment plan for individuals experiencing blindness/visual impairment caused by injury or disease. The Orientation/Mobility Specialist works as part of a team coordinating care for blind and visually impaired veterans. Orientation/Mobility are responsible for: Assessing the patient's background, interests, future plans, motivation, needs, and capabilities for orientation and mobility training. Evaluating the patient's ability to navigate from one point to another safely, either visually or non-visually, in a variety of environments. Working with team members to develop a training plan based on orientation and mobility assessment results, patient goals and needs. Providing evaluation and instruction in the use of residual vision, adaptive low vision aids, electronic travel aids and scooters when indicated. Interprets policies and directives to veterans concerning training, entitlements and equipment. Recommending and ordering prosthetic devices to meet individual needs. Evaluating (with other team members and ancillary staff as needed) the veteran's mental ability, tactual perception, memory, spelling, study habits, as well as orientation and mobility capacity. Providing consultation and orientation and mobility instruction to VA staff, family members, etc. Counseling patients regarding the advantages and limitations of various orientation and mobility techniques and adaptive devices as well as patient's progress and potential. Determining when a patient has met his or her full potential in the orientation and mobility program. Conducting an orientation and mobility training program for the patient's family member or significant other to give a better understanding of sight loss. Attending and actively participating in staff/team meetings. Writing required treatment plans, progress notes, and summaries for patient treatment, in a timely manner. Maintaining the 5.0 database as required by VA Blind Rehabilitation. Keeping abreast of current literature, teaching strategies, and technological advances specific to orientation and mobility. Presenting in-service, intra-VA details and community programs on orientation and mobility and blind rehabilitation services. Completing required hours for VA educational training. Obtaining and maintaining certification in orientation and mobility (COMS). Collaborate with VIST and BROS Coordinators on case issues. Perform visits to evaluate and work with veterans in the community/home as indicated. Assists team members with evaluation and training of veterans to perform activities of daily living within the scope of their certifications/disciplines. Performing other duties as assigned. The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist signs receipt of the Functional Statement upon hire or promotion. A signed receipted copy is placed in the Blind Rehabilitation Specialist's competency folder. The Orientation and Mobility Specialist serves as a mentor for clinical trainees within the specific disciplines. The Orientation and Mobility Specialist is expected to obtain and maintain certification in the appropriate discipline of blind/vision rehabilitation. Work Schedule: Monday through Friday 8:00am-4:30pm Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Functional Statement #: Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
About Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.