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Learning disability nurse

Alternative titles for this job include

Learning disability nurses help people with a learning disability to live as independently as possible.

Average salary (a year)

£25,654 Starter

to

£31,533 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a learning disability nurse

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You can do a degree in learning disability nursing approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council.

Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside learning disability nursing.

You may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course if you already have a degree in:

  • a health-related subject
  • psychology
  • life sciences
  • social work

Full-time courses usually take 3 years.

If you already have a relevant degree, you might also be able to study for a postgraduate qualification through a postgraduate programme.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, or a level 3 diploma or access to higher education in health, science or nursing
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital.

The apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on-the-job training.

You must be supported by your employer to take this route.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More Information

Volunteering

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in social care or healthcare work before you apply for nurse training.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

You can also find volunteering opportunities with people with learning disabilities, through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

More Information

Registration

Career tips

It's possible to do a degree in learning disabilities nursing and social work. You'll need to check that the course is recognised by the relevant professional bodies. Course providers can advise you on this.

When applying for degree courses or an apprenticeship, you'll be expected to show an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a learning disability nurse from the Nursing & Midwifery Council and Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • knowledge of psychology
  • the ability to teach and motivate people
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • active listening skills
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You'll support people to improve or maintain their physical and mental wellbeing. You'll help them to overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

On a daily basis you could help people with learning disabilities to:

  • dress and look after their personal hygiene
  • use public transport and live independently
  • go on shopping trips
  • develop leisure interests or community activities
  • make and attend appointments
  • access other services
  • gain skills to find a job
  • get their voice heard on issues that are important to them

Working environment

You could work in the community, at an adult care home, at a client's home or in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With further study and experience you could become an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or nurse consultant. Consultants work directly and independently with patients, carry out research and develop and deliver training.

You could lead a team of nurses in a residential setting or manage a learning disability unit. You could also move into other management roles, like community matron or director of nursing.

You could also go on to train as a health visitor.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Pre-Reg Mental Health Nurse Apprentice

  • Wage: £21,892.00 Annually
  • Location: Not known

Pre-Reg Mental Health Nurse Apprentice

  • Wage: £21,892.00 Annually
  • Location: Not known

Courses In England

Access to Higher Education Nursing

  • Provider: EALING, HAMMERSMITH & WEST LONDON COLLEGE
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: London

ACCESS TO HEALTH, NURSING & MIDWIFERY (JAN)

  • Provider: BARKING AND DAGENHAM COLLEGE
  • Start date: 26 April 2022
  • Location: Romford

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