Learning disability nurses are there to help people who need assistance with everyday activities lead a fulfilling life. Through addressing physical and mental health problems, learning disability nurses aim to encourage independent living amongst those with learning disabilities. It’s all about ensuring that the patient has the right treatment, therapy, skills and support to help them on their way.
A huge part of the role will be education, from offering practical help on everyday activities to patients, to educating their families about appropriate care and mentoring support workers. They help to fight the stigma surrounding learning disabilities and assist their patients in seeking equality and access to all community and public services.
A learning disability nurse might work with clients in schools, at home, in residential or community centres or at their place of work. It can be a tough and trying role, but equally it can be incredibly rewarding and a real chance to make a difference.
Salary & benefits
At entry-level, an adult nurse can expect to earn around £21,000 a year. However, with more experience, salaries will increase to around £27,000 per annum. Specialist nurses usually earn between £25,000 and £34,000 a year.
In a senior position, nurses could begin to earn anywhere between £30,000 and £65,000 a year. Not bad eh?
As most learning disability nurses tend to work in the community, their hours are more regular and sociable, unlike other nursing areas. However, those working in residential settings might have to do shifts in order to provide 24-hour care.
Learning disability nurses need to obtain a pre-registration degree in nursing, which takes three or four years to complete (including a foundation learning year and two or three years of specialist training in learning disability nursing).
Learning disability nurses also need to obtain membership from the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).
This area of nursing really requires top notch communication skills and superhuman levels of patience. Emotional and mental strength, high levels of self-motivation and confidence are needed, as is the ability to stay calm in stressful situations.
Training & progression
Upon successful completion of pre-registration studies, nurses are required to register with the NMC and move into full-time work.
Registration needs to be renewed once every three years and is dependent on fulfilling continuing professional development requirements.
Learning disability nurses also need to attend training courses throughout their career to keep their skills fresh and up-to-date.