How to build a career in Learning Disabilities Nursing as overseas students

Oct 26, 2017
Paul Johnson

Learning Disabilities nursing is one of the fields of practice in nursing. It is concerned with providing healthcare and education to patients with learning disabilities; to help them live independently.

The Nurses work to make sure they meet the needs of adults and children with learning disabilities. They also help them to maintain their physical and mental health; 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.

For overseas students who want to build a career in Learning Disabilities Nursing, you’ll need a degree in nursing first, amongst other things. Before sending out applications to the University of your choice, you want to be sure you meet their entry qualifications.

Generally speaking, you will need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above (English language or literature and a science subject); plus two A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. Some universities may require more.

Another flexible route to take is to apply for a nursing degree apprenticeship. This allows you to study part-time at the University and work with an NHS employer. It takes three to four years to complete.

The next step to take will be a registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC). Here, you will have to complete a pre-registration nursing program and successfully meet its other requirements before being allowed to practice.

Another essential check you’ll need is from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). You will have to take up a place on a pre-registration nursing program. You must confirm on your university application that you agree to a DBS check.

In the case of having a criminal conviction or a police caution, having the DBS check will not automatically bar you from working in the NHS. You’ll also be required to have a check from the Protection of Children Act List; especially if your program involves being in charge of children related health conditions.

What are the roles of a learning disability nurse?

As a learning disability nurse, you work alongside other medical teams and health professionals. Your roles are vast and crucial. You will have to map out care plans to ensure that patients get the medical care and support they need for independent living.

This can include improving a patient’s physical or mental health, teaching skills that promote healthy lifestyles. It can also involve supporting them with daily activities like, managing their finances, going to college or work, or meeting friends and family.

Other fundamental roles and responsibilities include:

  • Taking and making healthcare appointments
  • Assessing personalized care packages
  • Organizing home visits to engage with patients and their carers
  • Coordinating reviews with health and social care professionals
  • Arranging visits to hospitals and GP surgeries
  • Planning social activities and events for groups of patients
  • Supporting community-based health and social care teams
  • Ensuring that full and accurate patient records are maintained
  • Arranging clinical supervision sessions for your own personal and professional development
  • Planning group sessions to support people who have similar care needs, where appropriate

As a learning disability nurse, you’ll need the following skills for professional delivery of service:

  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Good Administration
  • Excellent Communication
  • Great Interpersonal skills
  • Patience and Resilience
  • Teamwork and Time management

You could work with the NHS, residential homes, social services, charities, specialist schools, and day centers. As you progress in your career, you could also take up specialized roles that address specific disabilities.

Deciding to help people with learning disabilities is not a choice everyone makes, if you’ve made this choice, and possess the necessary skills, you’ll have your career flying high.