Reflection – the ability Learning Disability nurses have to shape their own learning

Counting down placement hours can be a really daunting thing as a nursing student; however I’ve just counted down 15 in one of my favourite ways so far – Positive Choices 2017 hosted in Hull.  Positive Choices is an annual conference for Learning Disability students to network, learn and listen to those that’ll matter to our future careers; from lecturers, those with a disability and family and friends. It is all inspiring, confirming and, maybe most importantly, free!

It is hosted by a different University each year (we’d like to volunteer and show off York, obviously!) and people from all 5 nations attend. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about how other Learning Disability courses are run, as well as meet professionals who offer guidance on your future careers. There are also trusts and private sector organisations who are happy to talk about the way the work and the types of jobs that are available once we graduate. There are some wonderful opportunities available and you really see it at an event like this.

Service users and family members spoke, danced and sang their way into your heart throughout the conference, being the most amazing reminder of why I, and many others, chose learning disability nursing. The positive influence you can have to make someone’s life better is unlike any other career. To view more pictures and films from the conference the #PC17 was used (although I haven’t seen it as I don’t use Twitter! I really should though!)

As a learning disability nurse, I was able to use this conference as placement hours. As we get a ‘hub’ for two years rather than having four or five different placements like other specialities we are in a unique position to take charge of our own learning. I absolutely love this and it makes me incredibly glad I chose this field of practice. This year, as well as my community placement, I have been able to ‘spoke’ to others, including a few weeks with the children’s team (yay cuddling babies!) and a secure unit (yay learning about dual diagnosis, legal and security!) It’s allowed me to have a variety of experiences that really interest me, rather than being placed somewhere I don’t think will be as beneficial. As well as better experiences, it’s also a wonderful way to network and learning from other nurses you may not come into contact with. It also allows me to structure my spoke experiences around my theory work. For example I’ve picked a secure unit a few weeks before a module about behaviours which challenge. Again, this is unique to learning disability nursing students to be able to try long term spokes.

If you’re still thinking about nursing at the University of York, visit us, drop me a message or pick up a booklet. It really is worthwhile.

Oh the fees, apparently this is putting people off. I wouldn’t worry, you’ll be financed better than some of us on the old system and the loans don’t need to be repaid until you’re qualified and it’s more than manageable even then. They won’t stop you getting a mortgage, they will allow you to have a lifelong career you’ll love.

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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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