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Senior Nurse Practitioner

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Learning Disability Nursing


  • Community/Primary Care

Job/Role Summary

I work as a senior nurse practitioner within an Intellectual Disability Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (IDCAMHS). As per the CAMHS Stepped Care Service Model (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland, 2012), this service provides Step 3, specialist, community based, multidisciplinary intervention to children and young people with an Intellectual Disability (CYP-ID) who present with moderate/severe mental health, emotional and/or complex behavioural difficulties and their families.  I am involved in undertaking and contributing to specialist, comprehensive assessments of the young people accessing the service and provision of psychological, behavioural, systemic and pharmacological interventions tailored to their individual needs.


Specific qualifications and experience required

I qualified with a 1st class BSc (Hons) Degree in Nursing (Learning Disabilities) in 2008.  In addition to this I was awarded by Queens University with the Hill-Rom Medal for Clinical Excellence in Learning Disabilities Nursing.  I commenced my nursing career in an assessment and treatment unit for adults with learning disabilities which at that time was based in Longstone Hospital, Armagh.  While working here I also gained experience in a ward (Cherryvilla) for older adults with complex physical health care needs.

In 2010, while still working in Longstone I had a desire to gain additional experience working with children and so began bank work with the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, providing hospice at home and day care for young people with life limiting and terminal conditions and their families.

I have been working within children’s services on a full-time basis since 2011 when I moved to a Community Nurse Learning Disabilities post, based within a Children with Disabilities Team in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. I was seconded to undertake the Specialist Practice Qualification in 2013 and then applied for a further secondment in 2015 to a CAMHS post in the SHSCT.  While undertaking this secondment I was fortunate that an opportunity arose for my current post, where I have been working for just over 2 years and have completed the Post Graduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing.


Career Milestones

The ID CAMHS work base is in the Longstone Hospital site and although I am back to working where my career started this is a daily reminder of not only how far I have progressed in my professional career but also of some of the advancements in the care of people who have a learning disability.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

Providing a new and innovative service and working alongside a motivated and enthusiastic team who are dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for young people and their families.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

To always challenge yourself and proceed outside of your comfort zone. Also, consider opportunities for personal and professional development beyond typical pathways for learning disabilities nurses.


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