This is a challenging field to work for healthcare professionals and nurses, patience and excellent communication skills will be required. This can be a stressful and demanding job as you will be providing personal care and support to people who have learning difficulties due to various physical and mental health conditions.
Your main function is to engage with and help your clients (many of whom will be vulnerable) to lead as normal a life as possible by improving their basic living skills.
Personal qualities and skills that are required
You must be confident, assertive and be able to be firm with both people under your care and also then general public to ensure they threat your patients fairly. Being able to set objectives and also be highly motivated is also important as sometimes progress with those with learning disabilities can be slow.
The ability to work as part of a team is essential, as you will be liaising with other professionals like social workers, speech and language therapists, special educational needs (SEN) teachers and GP’s.
Locations of work
As a learning disability nurse you could be based in various social settings, for instance in either residential or community based centres. If you work in a residential home that provides 24 hour care then you will be required to work shifts of morning, afternoon or night shifts.
You could be visiting patients under your care in their home and indeed even living with them there for short periods. If you are working with children then you may have to visit schools, or places or even places of work.
Daily work activities
Your daily duties will involved in you meeting one to one with your patients or perhaps as a group. Administrative work is a important part of your daily routine, and you would be expected to keep up to date records of your clients progress, assessment and evaluations.
As a learning disabilities nurses would also be expected to work closely with your client’s guardians and parents in to make sure they receive the best personal care and medical attention. Other duties include regular meetings with senior management and also other carers to discuss your clients care assessments, review their progress and to draw up action plans. You will have to organise and plan activities like social events and work interviews etc.