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BSc (Hons) - Learning Disabilities Nursing

You’re compassionate, patient and want to make a difference in the lives of others. Our learning disabilities nursing course is designed to give you the professional qualifications and skills to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and become a learning disabilities nurse.

This nursing degree will enable you to hit the ground running to work as a learning disabilities nurse in a variety of settings including community nursing teams, hospice care, specialist behaviour teams, children's wards and many more.


Accredited by:

Course Overview

On the BSc Learning Disabilities Nursing degree, you will spend your time divided between theoretical learning and practical placements – working with highly experienced professionals and in direct contact with people with a learning disability. You will boost your skills and confidence, learning how to improve and maintain the physical and mental health of people with learning disabilities.

You will be allocated six placements over the course, plus an enrichment placement you will arrange yourself (potentially working abroad).

Our experienced academic staff will develop your independent thinking and problem-solving skills using clinical labs, mock hospital wards, lectures, guest speakers, workshops and simulations. All of which will be supported by a wide variety of online learning opportunities.

CPD and postgraduate courses after graduation will help you take the next step in your career.

On this course you will...

  • Prepare to become a learning disabilities nurse who works with people across the lifespan from new families, children and young people, to older adults who require support at various times throughout their lives.
  • Have the opportunity to make a profound impact on someone's life. You will be able to provide nursing care and support to someone who needs it most.
  • Experience something new every day, and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. You can live your best life by helping others live theirs.
  • Be able to work in a wide variety of settings following graduation. The opportunities are endless, allowing you to have a career where you are always motivated and inspired to go to work for another exciting and rewarding day.
  • Learn to become an advocate for people with learning disabilities. You can make sure that a person's voice is heard, their human rights are protected and that discrimination does not occur.

Course Structure

What you will learn

You will spend 50% of the programme (2300 hours) in clinical practice being supervised and assessed by clinical staff. Your theoretical learning is delivered by expert teaching staff and is based on the latest evidence and research, using modern teaching methods and technology.

The programme will equip you to deliver safe and effective care to the highest standards and ensure you practice with compassion and confidence. You will be taught to make complex decisions regarding patient care using evidence and new technologies while delivering a wide range of services.

We also offer the option to study 1 year of our Health and Social Care IFY before beginning this course. Not only will this prepare you to succeed in your BSc, with key modules in academic and professional skills as well as baseline introductions to mental health and human anatomy, it is also ideal for those applicants who do not hold the required qualifications for direct entry but are passionate about pursuing Learning Disabilities Nursing. You will also be supported by our academic team to make a strong application to your chosen transfer course.

Year one

You'll get an introduction into the nursing profession, focusing on the skills you'll need as a learning disability nurse - such as, health and behaviours and developing therapeutic approaches.

  • Applied Biological Sciences for Health
    Anatomy and physiology relating to key systems including Principles of Homeostasis, Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Gastrointestinal.
  • Professional Practice and Accountability
    Spheres of professional accountability & responsibility, including health & social care legislation, legal & professional duty of care and negligence.
  • Developing Evidence-Based Practice
    Exploring knowledge acquisition, academic skills, information and digital literacy and fluency, academic integrity, and reflective practice.
  • Introduction to Communication and Interpersonal Skills
    Equipping students with a variety of communication, interpersonal and self-awareness skills required to provide culturally appropriate and compassionate nursing care.
  • Part 1a Practice Assessment
    Completion of mandatory skills required prior to placement attendance
  • Concepts of Health and Social Policy
    Explore perspectives of biological, psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and behavioural determinants of health and promote person centred wellbeing across the lifespan.
  • Introduction to Learning Disabilities Nursing
    Explore key concepts in Learning Disability Nursing and develop a foundation of knowledge and skills.
  • Part 1 Practice Assessment
Year two

You'll build on the skills learned in your first year and put theory into practice with practical placements to ensure you get the very best, first-hand experience of working within a clinical setting - abroad should you choose it.

  • Pharmacology and Medicine Therapeutics
    Focus on understanding and applying the principles of pharmacology and medicine therapeutics in the management of care.
  • Living with Long Term Conditions Across the Lifespan
    Develop underpinning knowledge relating to the causes, presentation and management of long term conditions across the lifespan.
  • Learning from the Lived Experience
    Analyse contextual knowledge through problem based learning and reflection using narratives of individuals accessing health and social care.
  • Communication and Relationship Management in a Therapeutic Context
    Learn to recognise, select and utilise appropriate communication strategies and therapeutic skills.
  • Part 2a Practice Assessment
    Completion of mandatory skills required prior to placement attendance
  • Recognition and Assessment of Physical & Mental Health of Clients with Learning Disabilities
    Learn to acknowledge the prevalence of health issues and inequalities that individuals with a learning disability experience. Develop assessment skills to enable clinical care planning.
  • Values-Based Contemporary Learning Disability Nursing
    Explore a bio-psycho-social approach to overcoming barriers, and discrimination to promote independence enable people with a learning disability to lead desired lives.
  • Part 2 Practice Assessment
Year three
  • Clinical Decision Making and Complex Care
    Consolidate professional competence in clinical decision-making related to the management of complex care.
  • Contemporary Issues and Change Management in Professional Practice
    Learn to consolidate evidence in order to improve service quality within professional practice.
  • Public Health
    Focus on public health and social care agendas and their impact on individuals, groups and communities.
  • Part 3a Practice Assessment
    Completion of mandatory skills required prior to placement attendance.
  • Leading and Managing Health and Social Care
    Prepare for working as a professional within an organisation, leading and managing care within a changing environment.
  • Consolidating Awareness of Learning Disability Nursing
    Prepare for registration as a learning disability nurse with the ability to make analytical and objective assessments and judgement based on evidence related to your area of practice.
  • Part 3 Practice Assessment

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
A student stands in front of a wall splattered with paint.