Learning disability nurse: job description
Learning disability nurses work to ensure that the needs of adults and children with learning difficulties are met. Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- assessing and planning care requirements
- advising about and organising appropriate care, resources or benefits
- writing care plans that outline timescales
- assisting with basic, practical living skills, such as getting dressed, preparing food and travelling
- liaising with relatives, colleagues and other social welfare or healthcare professionals
- monitoring and administering medication and injections
- providing support to relatives
- writing records and reports
- meeting clients at home or at clinics to discuss progress
- organising social activities and holidays for clients in residential care
- helping to enable clients to have full and independent lives
- The NHS
- Residential homes
- Social services
- Specialist schools
- Day centres
Vacancies are advertised online, in newspapers, on NHS jobs lists and in publications such as Nursing Times and Nursing Standard, as well as their respective websites.
To become a learning disability nurse you must have a nursing degree.
Nursing degrees normally last three years, split between university study and supervised nursing practice, and a specialism in learning difficulties is available. Graduates with a degree in a relevant subject such as medical, biological or social sciences can qualify via a shortened two-year postgraduate diploma course, depending on the university. Nurses must then register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in order to practise. Nurse First, a pilot two-year fast-track programme for graduates who want to enter nursing, has recently been launched by NHS England, and combines hands-on experience and training with an educational course. The scheme's initial focus is training mental health and learning disability nurses.
Any experience of caring for or working with people (eg in a care home or hospice) can be helpful.
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Care, compassion and empathy with patients
- Teamworking skills
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Resilience, stamina and patience