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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
Entry requirements for adult nursing degrees and nursing degree apprenticeships are set by the individual universities and employers respectively, but typically you will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above 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.