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Staff Nurse

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Learning Disability Nursing

Settings

  • Community/Primary Care

Job/Role Summary

My role as a Community Nurse Learning Disabilities (CNLD) is varied. I have a large caseload of clients who have a wide range of learning disabilities from profound to mild with a selection of specialist healthcare needs. Due to the complexity of the needs some of these people struggle when using generic services. One of my roles is to act as a facilitator to actively support service users. I also work with service users in areas such as mental health, forensic and personal/relationship issues. For this I would be required to use various assessment tools and evidenced based resources.

I am also involved in service developments and projects to improve our service within the trust. Learning disabilities nurses do not only support people with learning disabilities they also support their families, carers and sometimes friends. We help service users to maintain their health and wellbeing and to live their lives as fully and independently as possible. This includes helping people with their daily activities, teaching them the skills to look after themselves or find meaningful daytime activity. Networking in the local community and being aware off local community activities plays a vital role in this. We also support people with learning disabilities in making decisions about education/training or going out for leisure activities. As learning disabilities nurses we have the knowledge, skills and hopefully the attitudes to work in partnership with people of all ages who have learning disabilities.

 

Specific qualifications and experience required

I commenced my nursing career as a care assistant in Muckamore Abbey Hospital in 1996. I then qualified with a nursing degree from Queens University as a Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities in 2005. Through these years I feel this gave me valuable experience of working and caring for people with learning disabilities. I remained in Muckamore Abbey Hospital for 8 years first as a staff nurse and eventually became a temporary ward manager. I worked in both the male and female admission units and finally the resettlement ward. In 2013 I moved to a job in the community in North Belfast and during the first year completed my specialist practitioner course in Community Learning Disabilities nursing and obtained a post graduate diploma.

 

Career Milestones

Firstly, obtaining my degree in nursing at Queens University. When I qualified I thought that I would want to remain a staff nurse for the rest of my career. As my career developed I realised that I had further ambitions and securing my first ward manager’s post made me extremely proud. I also thoroughly enjoyed completing specialist practitioner course at Jordanstown University. Another milestone was completing my Train the Trainers programme in Management of Actual and Potential Aggression (MAPA).

 

Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

I really enjoy visiting people in the community and seeing them in an environment that they are comfortable with. It can also give great satisfaction to work with a service user who is unwell either mentally or physically and to help them be treated at home rather than having to admit them to hospital. I also enjoy networking with other community agencies as we have the opportunity to see what they can offer to people with a learning disability.

 

Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

I would advise nurses considering this role to develop their knowledge base and experience in other roles as much as possible. Being aware of what is on in local communities is a vital part of the job. Spending time with a community nurse prior to applying for such a job would be important to experience what they do in a typical day.

 

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