These comments are from student and qualified learning disability nurses via a questionnaire on our social media sites (2011)
Emma Healy Well I decided to become an LD nurse after being a support worker for 2 and a half years and wanted to be more involved and wanted to help people with LD to reach their full potential as this can be gained at whatever age they are. I also wanted to increase my knowledge and also wanted to have a greater challenge in my carer!
Catriona Nicol I decided to become a learning disability nurse for many reasons. I have a cousin with learning disabilities so it’s always been something that i have encountered in my family. Also I have worked for 4 years as a support assistant and a relief social care worker for both adults and children with LD! Other branches of nursing were never an option. Eventually, I would love to do an MA in Drama therapy and set up my own service for individuals with LD as I believe it is a neglected part of the NHS, and something that everyone enjoys.
Kaye Johnson I was working in a care home for elderly people one of which had LD and it was an eye opener what certain people’s views were of people with a LD, shocking to say the least. I knew I wanted to do nursing but after this encounter I decided LD was the way to go. I applied for a post work as a support worker in supported living with adults with LD while I waited to start and knew right away I had made the right choice. I am just at the end of my first year and loving every minute
Sean Ledington OK I started my training not to be called a Nurse but to support people with a learning disability to achieve the outcomes THEY wanted; to try and reduce health and social care inequalities and to break down barriers within society. I would say to anyone thinking of becoming a learning disability nurse to do some voluntary work/paid work first, understand what the branch of Nursing does and the varied places that we work (Public/Private/Voluntary Sectors).
Michelle J Parker Well I came into LD nursing purely by accident, after many years helping my husband with his businesses, I woke up one day on a section on a mental health ward, with no warning signs to the very severe breakdown I had. Whilst being nursed back to health by some amazing nurses, I realised that I really wanted to be able to make a difference to people lives too. So I got myself well did an OU course in health and social care and applied to university. I had five choices on the form for UCAS and only needed one because “I was going to be a MH nurse” so I used four of my choices applying to various universities and spotted that York had an LD option oh well why not thought I. I was lucky enough to get interviews for both LD and MH at York with the LD one coming first. So two weeks before I went for interview decided I better try and find out what exactly it was all about. Stumbled across Mencaps Death by Indifference and ‘Valuing People’ documents. I have never cried so much in all my life, I wanted to be part of the vision that values everybody and I wanted to make sure that the atrocities of death by indifference would never happen again. I turned up at that interview with such passion that I was offered a place pretty much immediately. I did not even have to think about it I cancelled my interview for MH and accepted my place with pride
Sonia Easton I decided to study LD nursing after working as a support worker to people with challenging behaviour and autism, I was upset on a daily basis at the lack of support from health professionals and angry at that some of the sweetest people I’d worked with we’re being ignored. I feel that once I qualify I may be able make a slight difference to people’s lives
Sandy Costall My experience of being a mum to a child with a learning disability inspired me to become a nurse. He was very ill when he was a baby & whilst there were some great doctors & nurses there was still terrible ones. At the time I also joined local support groups & immersed myself with awareness raising, fund raising & liaising with the local hospitals with a local charity. I realised that services for the parents & children were non- existent & so felt more and more frustrated by the inconsistencies of treatment and care that was becoming a pattern. Over time I realised that I really wanted to start to make a difference in people’s lives on a more constant & higher level than as a mum doing charity fund raising or occasional hospital visits to midwives. At the same time I was no longer inspired or motivated by my then job as I had met so many people with learning disabilities, their families and carer’s who humbled and amazed me that I knew I wanted to use my own experiences and so do something positive for those that the system was failing. In December 2008 I took voluntary redundancy from my job in the pharmaceutical industry & in January 09 I started at university to begin my training as a learning disability nurse. Throughout my training I have never ceased to be motivated, touched and amazed by the patients, service users, families, carer’s and staff who’ve I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Those are the people who inspire me now to continue.
I’d also like to add that being a mature student has not mattered in the slightest during my training and becoming is an achievable goal! It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old because learning disability nursing is enriched by everyone’s experiences, knowledge and passion for caring
Christopher Hardy I’m training to become a LD nurse as I worked with gentlemen who had been failed by health care professionals in the past. I decided I could do a better job.