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Ward Manager - Interim Assessment & Treatment Unit

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice
  • Management

Area of Practice

  • Learning Disability Nursing


  • Hospital Care
  • Community/Primary Care

Job/Role Summary

Ward management of the Assessment and Treatment Unit which deals with short-term admissions to hospital for people with learning difficulties and associated problems. Provision of 24-hour care using a multi-disciplinary therapy approach creating care packages to meet the needs of each individual client. Working closely with community teams to facilitate the return of our clients to community care. Working with my team to ensure each client receives the necessary care and treatment. Liaison with carers to give advice and assistance when needed.


Specific qualifications and experience required

Part 1 Nursing; Registered Nurse Learning Disability; G grade nurse with 3 years' experience.


Career Milestones

Working in many different hospital-based Learning Disability wards has provided me with a wealth of experience. I have experience in dealing with all aspects of learning disability ranging from the mild to severe, challenging behaviour, self-injurious behaviour and the associated physical and mental conditions that can arise with clients. I gained my Ward Sister position early in my career and then had all the responsibility it merited. Throughout my career I've haven't been afraid to ask for advice if needed. I feel you gain a wealth of knowledge from colleagues who work with you or who have experience in the area you now are working in. Over the years as a ward manager I have learned to deal with all the problems that arise. I have developed skills in dealing with the different professions I meet. Over the years I have been provided with many valuable developmental experiences. There have been many, many changes in caring for clients with learning disability and if you are working in this field you need to be prepared to move forward and embrace changes. With my many years of experience of caring in this field it has given me the confidence to develop the work of my unit and hopefully help the clients that stay with us.


What attracted you to this job?

It was a new project, the first unit of its kind for people with learning disability. With community care becoming preferable to hospital care this unit gave me a chance to work in both areas, with the unit being hospital-based but dealing with clients living in the community. With it being a new project it was exciting getting involved and making it work.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

Meeting different people regularly, dealing with many different disciplines. Talking to carers and being able to help them through a difficult time when their clients are unwell. Hopefully making a difference in people's lives and making new friends, our clients become very important to us. Helping clients who are unwell to be able to return to their homes improved.


Important success factors

The experience I have gained working for many years around the hospital in different wards has developed a wealth of skills in dealing with all aspects of learning disability. Over the years I have listened and learned from senior colleagues i.e. ward managers who have guided me and given me the confidence to do the job I'm now doing. Being a good listener - listening to my staff therefore creating a group of people who work as a team.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

For anyone considering a move into this area of practice I would advise them to be willing to listen, understand and take their time. Working in the area of learning disability you will learn that things take longer and understandably there is no cure. We are there to make things better for each client and their carers. It is vital that staff work with clients/carers at their own speed and staff must realise that each client is an individual who has individual needs. They need to be aware that no two care plans or treatment plans will be the same and they must be prepared for the unexpected happening. At times the work can be very stressful especially in dealing with challenging behaviours. On occasions we are open to both verbal and physical aggression. Training in this area is necessary so that situations can be controlled without any harm coming to either client or staff.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

Skills around listening to the needs of individuals. Although it is the client who is ill, the family needs help as well. Prioritising time - for many clients this will be their first time away from home and they are afraid. Reassurance is necessary. This has required me to learn to prioritise taking into consideration what really makes a difference to our clients/ carers/ families even if it means putting other jobs on hold Dealing more with community-based clients has given me a better understanding of what care is available outside of the hospital. With the move to community living being paramount for the future of learning disability I feel I now have a better understanding of the high and low points out there. Communication skills - as a member of a multi-disciplinary team both inside and outside the hospital I have to attend many meetings and ward rounds acting as an advocate in order to try and achieve the best possible care for my clients.


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