What do learning disability nurses do?

Learning disability nurses work in a wide range of environments, including community nursing, forensic, secure or residential settings and hospices. This blog will explore what learning disabilities nurses do in their role and the impact they have on the lives of others.

"It’s not just about what learning disability nurses do, it’s what they prevent being undone." Megan Ford, January 2020

Learning disability nurses not only work in a wide range of settings. The flexible aspect of the role, means they need to hold a wide range of skills, knowledge and values that they will use to meet the complex mental and physical health needs of both adults and children. We've listed below some key aspects of the learning disability nurse role that shows some of the things that they do. 

1. They have advanced communication skills

Learning disability nurses are creative communicators. They utilise a variety of skills and resources such as sign, pictures, symbols and easy read to make sure the people they support can understand and be understood. They really do listen.

2. They are always person centred 

A learning disability nurse makes sure that the person is at the heart of everything that they do and that the person's wishes, hopes, dreams and desires, drive the support delivered to them.

3. They are advocates and activists

Learning disability nurses are not someone's voice but they are there to project it. We make sure that the person's voice is heard, their human rights protected and that discrimination does not occur. Empowerment and partnership are at the top of their agenda.

4. They are innovators

Learning disability nurses are problem solvers, they can find new and creative ways around any obstacle or hurdle placed in the person's path.

5. They work across the lifespan

They work with young children, older adults, maternity services, end of life care and everything in between. Sometimes they can work with people long term, putting them in the privileged position of getting to know a person and their families and/or supporters.

6. They make a difference

Learning disability nurses can have a big impact on improving a person's situation and support. Always acting in the person's best interest, they can coordinate care, treatment and services ensuring that reasonable adjustments and good communication make for a good experience.

7. They have many opportunities

Learning disability nurses are employed wherever there are people with learning disabilities, and that is everywhere. Community to inpatient, prisons to hospices, GP surgeries to acute hospitals, their specialist skillset is welcomed across the board.

8. They are in high demand

There is recognition of the specialist skills of learning disability nurses and a growing demand for more of them across services. Not only are they in high demand but in 2020 learning disability nursing students were given an extra £1000 on top of the existing £5000 training grant to encourage more people to study to become learning disabilities nurses (Find out more here). There has never been a better time to become a learning disability nurse.


Are you interested in studying Learning Disabilities Nursing?

We offer a BSc (Hons) Learning Disabilities Nursing course. Here at the University of Cumbria we will enable you to gain all of the knowledge and practical skills you need to become a confident and qualified Nursing and Midwifery Council registered learning disabilities nurse. It's time for you to make a difference, visit our course page today for more information on the course, call 0845 606 1144 or email enquirycentre@cumbria.ac.uk to speak to an expert and plan your career.