To be honest I kinda fell into learning disability nursing. As a mental health nurse I was looking to move back home after working in a neighbouring health board in Scotland and there was a job freeze in the mental health hospital where I had trained. Challenges in the NHS have been around for a while!
There was a post in the learning disability unit to support people who had been there for a long time, to move back into the community. I took this post with a view to move back into mental health when I could. However I never counted for how much I would love working with people with learning disability, their families and all the other disciplines and agencies who contribute to supporting people with learning disabilities. The complexity and the ability to have a positive impact on people’s lives had me hooked.
I went on to do a bridging course in learning disability nursing and worked as a charge nurse in both community and assessment and treatment services. I realised that although I may have fell into learning disability nursing it was the right place for me to be.
Since then I have had a varied career working in education, policy and leadership roles and continued to learn and develop doing a BSc and MSc. I was lucky enough to be seconded to work as programme manager and professional advisor for Scottish Government where I worked across the UK with a wide range of amazing people to undertake the review of learning disability nursing on behalf of the UKs Chief Nursing Officers, this work produced Strengthening the Commitment and Living the Commitment.
Currently I work as Nurse Director for Mental Health and Learning Disability Services in ABMUHB. The knowledge, skills and competence you gain as a learning disability nurse can take you anywhere.
Learning disability nurses provide extraordinary care every day, with commitment and passion, providing a unique and important contribution across all parts of the health system and care sectors.
I have met some amazing people and families who have taught me so much about humanity and made many lifelong friends. Learning disability nursing can give you an amazing and wide career and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Hazel MacPherson - Nurse Director for Mental Health and Learning Disability Services in ABMUHB
If you think this may be the career for you, there are still spaces available to study
BSc (hons) Nursing: Learning Disabilities at University of South Wales for September 2018.
For more information, please contact Rachel Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org)