What kind of career pathways are open to learning disability nurses ?

July 1, 2011

If you’re thinking about studying to become a learning disabilities nurse, or you’re currently a student nurse wondering what career path to take with your RNLD qualification, this article is for you. We’re going to take a look at just a few of the job vacancies available for RNLD Nurses currently being advertised.

Words by Sarah Gill, Nurses.co.uk.


Learning disability nurses have a wide range of potential career paths in a variety of different settings within the healthcare sector. While the public sector traditionally used to be the first choice for job hunting, the current financial instability throughout the country is affecting recruitment activity everywhere and you might have to be more resourceful in order to secure your first RNLD job, or your next career move. <a href=“http://www.nurses.co.uk/learning-disabilities-nurse-rnld-jobs__16.html” title=”Learning disabilities RNLD nurse jobs”>Learning disability nurse jobs</a> are not only advertised in the public sector, they are also available in the private sector, in not-for-profit organisations and in charities throughout the UK and Ireland. In this article we will take a look at types of vacancies advertised on Nurses.co.uk and show you how you can search for your own perfect RNLD job.

Staff Nurse RNLD – Secure Forensic Hospital A forensic environment is one that is, by definition, in relation to a legal process and the courts of law. An individual can be referred to a secure forensic service if they are convicted of a crime and require an environment that can offer treatment and support not otherwise available in prison, or if they are detained in accordance with the Mental Health Act (1983) at any other time. As an RNLD working in this type of environment, you will conduct assessments of individuals referred to the service and play an active part in the provision of treatment according to the care plan devised from the assessment process. You will find that there are several challenges in this type of environment such as managing challenging behaviour, ongoing mental health problems and repeat admissions. It’s a demanding role, one that requires a diverse range of communication skills and the ability to work within a team. You will be managing several different people at once, so the ability to multi-task accurately is also advantageous. In return, you can expect a good salary, a permanent contract and regular training updates.

RNLD Nurse in a Nursing / Care Home Working in a nursing or care home gives you the opportunity for really influence the quality of life that an individual has, as well as developing a long term relationship with them. In a nursing home environment, you will often find that you are caring for people who have a combination of physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and medical complications. If you do decide that you want to pursue your career in a nursing home environment, you can go on and complete a management qualification, which would allow you become CQC registered and therefore be eligible to apply for nursing home manager jobs. Nursing home and care home vacancies for RNLD nurses are probably the most common of all job types currently advertiseed. There are a range of sizes of nursing home that employ RNLDs, and some that also specialise in the services they offer. It’s a really large part of the industry and you can find a diverse range of vacancies in this kind of setting.

RNLD Nurse in a Residential Home or Supported Living Accommodation In a residential home or supported living accommodation you will be working with people who have mild to moderate learning disabilities, but with assistance can live very independent lives with a relatively low level of support. You will often be working with the same people over a period of time, so you will get to understand their personalities, their behaviour and how their learning disability can challenge them. It’s a key part of your role to help them develop strategies and methods for overcoming their disability in order to reach their full potential in life. You will help with establishing routines that promote independence such as getting up and dressed in the morning, or enabling the individual to make breakfast on their own. It’s also part of the role of a learning disability nurse to liaise with other health professionals or social workers who may be involved in the care of the individual. You could be part of the team assisting the individual to find a job and become employed, or helping them learn to manage their money, both of which are vital every day tasks that someone without a learning disability would take for granted. With your assistance, you can promote independence, responsibility and you can empower that person to take control is as many areas of their life as possible. Vacancies for RNLDs to work with people who have mild learning disabilities, whether in supported living accommodation or a residential home, are available across all types of employer. There are a range of permanent and temporary jobs available, either full or part time, and throughout the UK so you should be able to find a vacancy in your desired area.

RNLD Hospital Liaison Nurse The role of the Hospital Liaison Nurse is one that has developed as a result of greater awareness of the difficulties that people with learning disabilities have in accessing health services. In this job you will be based at a hospital and will be the main point of contact for someone with learning disabilities, or the carer / family member of that person, who needs treatment or to access services from the hospital. You will ensure all their needs are met from the initial point of contact to the conclusion of their treatment. Throughout that time you will ensure their access to treatment is unhindered by their learning disability. You need great communication skills for this role, and the ability to adapt your approach according to the needs of the individual. The primary function of this role is advocacy with the aim of ensuring treatment is provided in a timely and appropriate manner. Organisation skills are also important for this role as you will be working with many individuals at any one time, all of whom will have different requirements.

Community Nurse Specialist There are opportunities for RNLDs who want to work entirely within the community, either visiting people in their own homes or based a day centre. You could choose to specialise in any aspect of learning disabilities or maintain your skills across the entire spectrum with people of all ages. Community RNLDs work with people who have a range of learning disabilities, on one end of the scale you may be assisting someone with a routine to help them learn to cook a meal by themselves, and on the other end of the scale you may be working with an individual who has profound learning disabilities, a physical disability and possibly requires personal care as well. The key to being a great community RNLD nurse is you have to be incredibly flexible, you must adapt easily and you definitely have to be a good communicator. All these skills will be taught on your nursing course, but it’s essential you remember how to put them into practice when you’re working after you graduate. Each person is an individual with individual challenges, and as an RNLD you will asses those challenges and help to put in place systems and care plans, which ensure the person gets the most out of life while empowering them to take control wherever possible.


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