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BSc (Hons) - Learning Disabilities Nursing

If you feel passionate about empowering people to gain their best quality of life and feelings of fulfilment, then a career as a Learning Disability Nurse, may be for you. In supporting some of the most marginalised and discriminated against, individuals in society, Learning Disability Nursing aims to redress the power balance, enabling people to take control over their lives.

If you have already completed a FdSc Nursing Associate programme, you will be able to enter directly into the second year of this degree, enabling you to qualify as a learning disability nurse in just two years.

This programme will provide you with clinical experience in a rewarding, challenging and caring role and equip you with the skills you need to become a specialised registered nurse. Taught over both Carlisle Fusehill and the Lancaster Campus, you will work within the NMC professional values and gain skills in prioritising people, practising effectively and promoting professionalism. Studying with the University of Cumbria will give you the insight and skills to demonstrate critical thinking in relation to health facilitation, complex healthcare issues and the promotion of health and wellbeing of people with a learning disability.

Whilst gaining the skills needed to be a registered nurse, this course also focuses on the specialised and inclusive support required for Learning Disability Nursing. Opportunities are endless, you can work across the lifespan, specialise in areas such as behaviour support, health facilitation, children and young people, intensive support services, commissioning, mental health, forensic/secure settings, end of life care or acute hospital settings. … the list is long!

Most of our qualifying students, have multiple job offers upon finishing their studies. There is a real need for more Learning Disability Nurses in practice and there has never been a better time to train!

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Course Overview

With a 50:50 split between practice and theoretical study, this programme will allow you to work on placement alongside experienced and qualified nurses across the lifespan, in a variety of settings, with compassion, creativity and collaboration. Your problem solving skills and evidence based practice will enable you to have a positive impact on the wellbeing and health outcomes of those patients with a learning disability. The University of Cumbria offers many opportunities so that you can make the most of the placement experience and network with local services.

You will be allocated six placements over the course. For students who wish to undertake placements closer to home, if you study at the Lancaster campus you may have the opportunity to undertake placements with the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust, and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay. You will also have the opportunity to complete an enrichment placement that you will arrange yourself (potentially working abroad). Note – this is self-funded.

Our experienced academic staff will develop your independent thinking and problem-solving skills using clinical labs, simulated hospital wards, lectures, guest speakers, workshops and technical 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 you to work with people across the lifespan from new families, children and young people, to older adults who require support at various times throughout their lives.
  • Provide nursing care and support to an individual and families and have a profound impact on their lives.
  • Experience something new every day, and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
  • Work in a wide variety of settings. 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 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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.

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.