Learning disabilities nurses

Learning disabilities nurses care for people of all ages with a learning disability. They promote their autonomy, rights, choices and their social inclusion in the health care system.

Working with people

They work with people in person-centred ways, promoting their strengths and abilities, championing their rights as equal citizens, optimising their health and promoting their safety. This includes working with the families and carers of people with a learning disability.

Learning disabilities nurses use innovative ways to communicate with people in their care to promote health and educate them in healthy living strategies.

They also respond to the often complex nursing needs of people who need support when they are physically ill, or who have mental health problems such as dementia.

Learning disabilities nurses may also have a role in supporting people in relation to aspects such as heredity, sexual health and pregnancy.

Working in different settings

Learning disabilities nurses work for various statutory and independent agencies and practise in a wide range of settings. These settings include residential care homes, independent living homes, supported living and family homes.

They also practise in specialist settings, such as community nursing, child health, mental health, forensic, treatment and assessment services and challenging behaviour units.

Learning disabilities nurses must also make sure that people in their care can carry out their day to day activities as independently as possible.

Providing effective care

Some people will have specific nursing needs which require direct nursing intervention and practical support and, at times, medication to help them deal with particular needs and challenges. Some will need access to therapeutic groups and counselling services.

Learning disabilities nurses work in inter-professional teams, often educating and supporting other health care workers and professionals, to care for people with a learning disability.

During their programme, nurses will receive the foundation knowledge needed to provide safe, competent and effective care for people with a learning disability, and to give advice and support to carers and others.

Some learning disabilities nurses will go on to specialise in areas such as counselling, physical and mental health promotion and promoting access to general health care.

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