Learning Disability Nurse

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Learning disability nurses provide care and support to people with learning disabilities to help them live as independently as possible.

Learning disability nurses work to ensure that the needs of adults and children with learning disabilities are met, helping them to maintain their physical and mental health and supporting them with daily activities. Learning disability nurses help people with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible and may teach them the skills required to find work.

Learning disability nurses are often based in community or supported living settings. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • assessing and planning care requirements

  • advising about and organising appropriate care, resources or benefits

  • writing care plans that outline timescales

  • assisting with basic, practical living skills, such as getting dressed, preparing food and travelling

  • liaising with relatives, colleagues and other social welfare or healthcare professionals

  • providing support to relatives

  • writing records and reports

  • meeting clients at home or at clinics to discuss progress

  • organising social activities and holidays for clients in supported living settings

  • helping to enable clients to have full and independent lives


Qualifications and training required


The main route into qualifying as a nurse is to take a nursing degree in one of the four nursing specialisms: adult nursing, children's nursing, learning disability nursing or mental health nursing. Some degree courses cover two of these fields, and are known as 'dual field' degrees. Most nursing degree courses are three years long. Nursing degree courses provide a mix of formal teaching and practical experience.


Key skills for learning disability nurses


  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Care, compassion and empathy with patients

  • Teamworking skills

  • Verbal and written communication skills

  • Resilience, stamina and patience


Typical employers of learning disability nurses


  • The NHS

  • Residential homes

  • Social services

  • Charities

  • Specialist schools

  • Day centres

Learning disability nurses may work in a range of settings, including people's homes, workplaces, hospitals and prisons.


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