Position is located at the Brooklyn Campus of the NY Harbor Healthcare System. The position is within the Optometry Department location within the Department of Surgery. The primary purpose of this position is to provide blind and vision rehabilitation services for visually impaired Veterans and Service members. Applicants pending the completion of educational, or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. 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.) 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. 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®). 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. 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 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 following KSAs as described at the GS-9 grade level: Knowledge of policies and procedures of the blind/vision rehabilitation service. Knowledge of administration and interpretation of assessments and evaluations in blind/vision rehabilitation. Ability to develop a basic written blind/vision rehabilitation plan from assessment results and develop more complex plans with consultation from supervisor. Skill in instructing [Veterans] and families in a meaningful rehabilitation program and applying blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic techniques. Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision prosthetic devices for Veterans within the scope of practice. Ability to serve as team coordinator for assigned Veterans during their rehabilitation programs. The candidate must also demonstrate all the following KSAs for the GS-11 grade level: Knowledge and understanding of highly specialized complex evaluations and diagnostic tests and procedures of blind/vision rehabilitation. Ability to properly assess Veterans having diverse and multiple disabilities to make recommendations for blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic interventions. Skill in writing a blind/vision rehabilitation plan that includes evaluation information from multiple disciplines with observable, measurable goals and that identifies specific outcomes. Skill in instructional methods and learning principles. Ability to employ interventions and unusual motivational techniques and coordinate treatment with other professionals to achieve outcomes of the rehabilitation plan. Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision rehabilitation prosthetic devices for Veterans within scope of practice, making adaptations and modifications as required. Is expected to obtain and maintain certification in the appropriate discipline of blind/vision rehabilitation. The work environment may be in an office, clinical setting, classroom, private home, VA grounds, nursing home, community sites, and hospitals Individuals assigned as GS-11 Blind Rehabilitation Specialist are considered to be at the full performance level. References: VA Handbook 5005/109 PART II APPENDIX G41 The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is GS-11. Physical Requirements: See VA Directive and Handbook 5019, Employee Occupational Health Service. ["Blind Rehabilitation includes the disciplines of low vision therapy, orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy, manual skills instruction, and computer access instruction. The Blind Rehab Specialist (BRS)- Low Vision Therapist possesses professional knowledge of, and skill in applying concepts, principles, and practices of blind and vision rehabilitation to include assessment, treatment, and follow-up. Functions independently in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, educational institutions and home environments. Additional responsibilities of the Low Vision Therapist include, but are not limited to: Providing direct patient care and support services to an adult population of patients which is characterized by a very significant number of older male patients. Review of demographic data discloses that the average age of a NY Harbor Veteran is 89 years of age with a distribution of > 95% male population. With the more recent wartime conflict, younger veterans from OEF/OIF/OND will change the demographic data. Within these broad categorizations, the employee must tailor patient care and support services to meet the needs of the individual patient. This includes the responsibility for assessment of each patient's needs and the delivery of services which are responsive to the concerns of individual patients to the extent possible. 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. Works as part of a team coordinating care for blind and visually impaired veterans. The essential elements are the independent evaluation, treatment, and management of a blind and vision rehabilitation program of instruction that teaches veterans with visual impairments to utilize adaptive skills and techniques necessary to cope with the demands of everyday life. These needs constitute significant physical, emotional, and social disabilities. Some veterans manifest only blindness/visual impairment as their disabling condition. Others may have multiple medical problems, psychological concerns, substance abuse problems and cognitive problems in addition to visual impairment. Must identify the difficulties confronting the Veteran and the barriers to treatment and then develop and provide intervention designed to enhance the blind and vision rehabilitation process. Develop a treatment plan in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team to improve the quality of life for blind and visually impaired Veterans through the development of skills and capabilities needed for personal independence, emotional stability and the successful integration into community, family and environment. Responsible for using and maintaining technology (discipline specific) necessary to assist in the veteran's rehabilitation needs and processes such as electronic travel aids, computer assisted technology, speech output and input devices, large print devices and Braille devices. Works along with the eye care specialist, to determine the need for these devices based on type, nature and severity of the problem, and assessments, and instructs the Veteran in the proper use of the device along with its abilities and limitations. Optical devices, prescribed by an eye care specialist, are incorporated into the Low Vision Therapist's treatment plan. Works with family members and/or significant others to educate and counsel about the ramifications of visual impairment. Family members are taught to recognize and change behaviors and behavior patterns that impede blind and vision rehabilitation progress and how to cope with the psychological and social problems and their own individual stress. Maintains awareness of new technological developments in the field through research and education. The incumbent serves as a subject matter expert for other medical and allied health staff by providing counseling to healthcare providers and professionals on the nature of visual impairment and blind and vision rehabilitation. Work Schedule: Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Functional Statement #: Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Relocation May be 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.