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Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Learning Disability Nursing


  • Independent/Voluntary Sector

Job/Role Summary

I currently work within the private sector in a 33 bedded nursing home which provides care for adults with learning disabilities aged 18-end of life. The scope of my role is endless and each day is different. It may involve chairing a care management review for a resident, the next could be dealing with a behaviour which is challenging, taking a day trip or planning a holiday for our clients!  We work alongside the multidisciplinary team to provide the best quality, person centred care for each individual. Alongside the day to day management of the home i.e. medication rounds, care planning, risk assessment or providing hands on care, our aim is to provide holistic person centred care and make the impossible, possible. To achieve this, we make time for and actively listen to our residents and plan their care around these dreams and aspirations.


Specific qualifications and experience required

BSc Nursing – Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities

My career started 12 years ago in 2005 when I commenced general nursing. Nursing is a vocation –but it’s important to know which branch of nursing you are most suited to. As an enrichment placement during my general nurse training I had the opportunity to work in a learning disability unit which ignited a spark in me and I loved every single minute of it. I couldn’t wait to see the clients and find out what was happening each day. By the end of the second year of my degree, I was aware I was in the wrong field. I enquired about transferring to a learning disabilities branch of nursing but couldn’t find anywhere willing to accept me into third year. I followed my dream and left my degree, applying for a job as a senior support worker. I was successful in this role and after 12 months I was promoted to Trainee Support Team Manager. After successful completion of this course, I was given the role as Support Team Manager where I stayed for 3 years. At this point I had to make a huge life choice and decided it was now or never. I took the risk to go back and train to be a Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD) and successfully gained a place at Queen’s University Belfast.

I never looked back and obtained my first post in The Arches after qualifying as an RNLD. I currently continue to work there could not be happier in my post.


Career Milestones

  • Training as a mature student and graduating with a 2:1 from my nursing degree. Getting my first job role and completing my very first shift as a staff nurse.
  • Struggling with my role initially but persevering and working hard to make my job something I was proud of and enjoyed doing.
  • Being part of a team who have made significant quality improvements within the Arches Nursing Home.
  • Being honoured with two awards at the National Learning Disability and Autism awards in Birmingham, July 2017 for Learning Disability Nurse of the Year and along with two of my colleagues for supporting older people with learning disabilities.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

I enjoy the diversity of the role and the fact that no two days are the same.  I enjoy taking the residents on holiday to a variety of different locations and likewise it is a pleasure to see the positive changes in residents while they build confidence and learn new skills. Finally, it is seeing the progression of the home and the difference that can be made individually and as a team member which makes it all worthwhile.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

This job, like most, has its’ moments, however, it is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had the pleasure to work in. I believe my previous work experience including my passion for this branch of nursing has been hugely to my role as a RNLD. I would urge anyone to gain some work experience first before applying to nursing. This job requires patience, an ability to build rapport with residents and excellent communication skills. It is a role that would suit someone who enjoys a fast paced, busy environment and who would like to be involved in various projects along the way.


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