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Learning disability nurses work to provide specialist healthcare and support to people with a learning disability, as well as their families and staff teams, to help them live a fulfilling life.
Training and qualifications required
Academic entry requirements for learning disability nursing degrees are set by the individual universities but typically you will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above (typically English language or literature and a science subject), plus two A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3. Some universities may ask for three A-levels or equivalent.
Expected working hours and salary range
Learning disability nurses in the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week and will start at band 5 of Agenda for Change with opportunities to progress. Some learning disability nurses will work shifts, especially within in-patient departments. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
Learning disability nurses focus on managing their clients’ needs over a longer time, often having to be creative to achieve results. You’ll need patience and have highly-developed, flexible communication skills. The job can be stressful and demanding so self-awareness helps. You’ll sometimes need to be assertive to ensure people with a learning disability do not suffer discrimination. Sensitive human interaction is also a core skill.
Some nurses decide to do into service management or clinical academic research. You could specialise in a sensory disability, such as autism or a specific setting such as education. You may also want to consider areas outside of nursing such as a psychological well-being practitioner or high-intensity therapist.
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