This gorgeous lady is the very reason why I was introduced into the field of learning disability, here at just 2 years old born in 1946 she had no idea what impact she would have on not just my life or my family, but many hundreds of people over the years who was lucky enough to be part of her journey.
As a mere teen, I would attend her day centre, charity run as social services did not fund at the time. Lots of fun days and fetes to help keep the centre going, which I was part of. This gradually turned into volunteering and being employed at the age of 16. I would help support adults with very profound disabilities with such complex health issues that just didn’t daunt me as I was young enough to just fall in love with such beautiful people. I come to realise that making that small difference in a person’s day to day life was so rewarding that it became addictive. And that is what learning disability nursing will do to you. The satisfaction you feel when you have made that connection and been able to interpret, communicate, and make someone smile is priceless.
I always wanted to be a nurse and that was my objective on leaving school. It wasn’t until I was 17 years of age that I sat down and wrote my application to nursing and realised that I could apply to be a nurse specific for people with ‘mental handicap’. At the time, I had no idea what it would entail but I knew that it was my destiny and to be able to continue to help people with learning disabilities was just pure joy to me. So, in 1993 I embarked on a journey that would take me places, make wonderful friends, provide me with opportunities to make a difference to people’s lives and offer me challenges that would test me to the limit on times, but reward me a thousand times over.
I am probably mid-way at least in my career now, I am looking to finish my masters next year which will hopefully open new doors and opportunities for me. I continue to support people with learning disabilities and support nurses to do so too. I still remember the individuals I once looked after at 16 years of age, some are still alive some unfortunately are not. But the first time you connect with someone who has a learning disability you will never forget them and they will be in your heart forever, and keep your passion going.
As for the gorgeous lady at the top, she is now 71 years old and loving life and I feel truly proud to have been able to support her into her new supported living home.
Elizabeth Morris - Clincal Lead Nurse (Swansea Community Learning Disability Team - 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 (email@example.com)