Wait, so you’re an elderly nurse? But you look so young!

“No, LD, a Learning Disability nurse!”

A couple of colleagues and I, all Learning Disability student nurses, went to a recent conference with Health Education England (HEE). We met fellow students from London, Hull and Northumbria and many others to discuss the attraction of Learning Disability nursing, the course we are undertaking, any problems we face and of course, Positive Choices 2017 (an annual conference about learning disability for students and professionals, we’re all very excited about it!)

One thing I found from the conference with HEE is that people, including some nurses (!), don’t know what a Learning Disability nurse is, so I thought I should clear this up. Firstly, an LD nurse is not an adult nurse who has a learning disability. An LD nurse works to help the 1.5 million individuals who have a learning disability to improve their lives, their healthcare and social situations (family, friends and carers). We use a broad range of skills, including clinical knowledge, communication, holistic therapy and medication, to advocate better lives for some of the most vulnerable people in society. We work in a range of settings including the community, hospitals and in people’s homes. We are a part of the family that no other type of nurse will experience. An LD nurse is empathetic, can think outside of the box and works for long term wellbeing, not task orientated results.

A LD nurse is a fully registered nurse with a NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) pin number, just like an Adult, Child or Mental Health Nurse.

Finally, yes, we are real nurses.

Now, back to the HEE conference. We got to meet a Sir! (Sir Keith Pearson, the Chairman for HEE). The University of York organised (and paid!) for us to go and discuss our course, in order to be able to make improvements to the course by voicing any concerns we have and making improvements for future healthcare professionals. I’m not sure how many students are encouraged to speak to the top people in their industry, but I’m glad to be part of a university which encourages us to be political, as well as to grow and network together. So, if you’re thinking about nursing next year, you’re welcome!

I’m almost at risk of this blog being 100% positive aren’t I? Well that’s because I’m about to finish my first placement of second year and it feels like a huge achievement. My mentor even wrote in my evaluation that I’m funny. I said to put “hilarious”, but I’ll let that go…

So, what’s my advice to you as I say goodbye to 2016 and placement 3?

Be positive and apply for nursing at the University of York! It’s a hard course but you’ll get out of it what you put in.

Practise what you’re unsure about now – I’m shocking at maths, I admit it and I’m improving really quickly.

If you haven’t done any care work before, go and volunteer! It’s fun, great on your CV, you’ll meet lovely people and you’ll never go home feeling sorry for yourself.

Have a merry Christmas everyone!

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Hi! My name is Hannah and I'm a second year learning disability student nurse at the University of York. I'm 26 years old and have a degree from the University of South Wales in Psychology. I've lived in York for 3 years now. I have worked in healthcare since graduating in 2012, mostly in learning disability and mental health. In my spare time I like watching and playing rugby, running, baking and reading. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the blog!

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