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I have recently taken up the post of nurse lecturer in Queens and am involved in teaching the Learning Disabilities programme for undergraduate student nurses. This role is varied and diverse and involves among other things lecturing, directing tutorials, student assessments and exam marking, student support in the role of personal tutor, link lecturer, support to practice placements and audits of clinical placements, involvement on various steering groups and committees, contributing to research base for learning disabilities nursing.
My qualifications are Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD), Community Nurse Learning Disabilities (CNLD), BSc (Hons), PG Dip, MSc.
I have worked in Learning Disabilities services for over 20 years. The past seventeen years I spent as a community nurse in East Belfast working with a diverse population of adults with learning disabilities and their families/carers. These seventeen years have seen major changes with how care is delivered and within the learning disabled population itself. I enjoyed the challenge of working with people with complex needs whether these were physical health needs or mental health needs found over the years the needs of clients being referred to community nursing were becoming increasing complex.
I very much enjoyed my role as a community nurse and despite the increasing pressures within nursing found it to be a personally rewarding and deeply satisfying career, however, the move from clinical practice to teaching was something I had considered since completing my MSc and seemed too good an opportunity to miss. This has proved to be an excellent career move for me. The opportunity to work with student nurses and broaden my own knowledge base has been extremely rewarding and I am enjoying the challenges of my new role.
I work with a small team of registered learning disabilities nurses within a larger team of nurses from all areas of nursing. The opportunity to work with students has been very enjoyable and it is great to see their enthusiasm for their chosen profession. I have the opportunity to meet new people and am enjoying covering clinical areas in a Trust that is new to me. There will be opportunities for further study and involvement in research as well as opportunities to attend/participate in conferences both locally and across the world.
I would say to anyone considering becoming a lecturer to go for it. It is an immensely rewarding job. We have the opportunity to contribute to and influence the practice of the Learning Disabilities Nurse of the future. While this is a considerable responsibility I believe that time invested in our students is for the benefit of our client group in the future.
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