- An incredibly rewarding role, helping those who are physically or mentally not as able to carry out everyday activities
- Opportunities to progress into management or specialist roles with experience
- Often emotionally challenging work
As a learning disability nurse, you'll work with people of all ages who need help with aspects of daily living. You'll also make sure your patients have access to the right health services, treatment or therapy.
Giving practical help and encouragement with:
- Personal hygiene
- Using public transport
- Going on shopping trips
- Leisure interests
- Community activities
- Making and attending appointments
- Finding a job
- You may mentor and supervise support workers, and give advice to doctors, physiotherapists, speech therapists, social workers and teachers
You could work in the community, at an adult care home, at a client's home or in an NHS or private hospital. Your working environment might be physically and emotionally demanding at times.
To be a learning disability nurse, you'll need to enjoy working with others, sensitivity and understanding, flexibility and an openness to change, good customer service skills, initiative, innovation, and knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses.
You can do a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved degree in learning disability nursing. Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside learning disability nursing. If you already have a degree in a health-related subject, psychology, life sciences, or social work, you may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course.
Before applying for nurse training, it may help if you have some paid or voluntary experience in social care or healthcare work.
You could also get this job role through a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital, but you must be supported by your employer if you take this route.
With further study and experience you could become an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or nurse consultant. Consultants work directly and independently with patients, carry out research and develop and deliver training. You could lead a team of nurses in a residential setting or manage a learning disability unit. You could also move into other management roles, like community matron or director of nursing. You could also go on to train as a health visitor.