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Learning disability nurse

Alternative titles for this job include

Learning disability nurses take care of the social, psychological and physical health needs of people with a learning disability.

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 field of nursing alongside learning disability nursing. These are known as 'dual field' degrees.

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.

You could be eligible for extra help to fund your studies through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

It's possible to do an 'integrated practice' degree that leads to registration as both a learning disabilities nurse and generic social worker. You'll need to check that the course is recognised by the relevant professional bodies for both professions. Course providers can advise you on this.

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

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

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 help people with a learning disability to overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

You may work in clinical or community settings and could:

  • help people to improve or maintain their physical and mental wellbeing
  • support people to access healthcare and other services
  • do initial assessments to work out the kind of nursing care needed
  • draw up care plans
  • work together with other health and social care staff to make sure people get equal healthcare treatment
  • give clinical advice on treatments and medication in an easily understandable way
  • create and maintain confidential records
  • manage medicines, give injections and do clinical tasks
  • involve people who use the service and their family or carers in all aspects of their care
  • mentor and supervise support workers
  • give advice to other professionals on supporting people with a learning disability

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

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a learning disability nurse right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

OCN L3 Access to HE Dip: Nursing (Fastrack) (ADACNRF)

  • Provider: LONDON SOUTH EAST COLLEGES
  • Start date: 28 November 2022
  • Location: Erith

Level 3 Access to Higher Education Diploma: Nursing

  • Provider: SOUTH THAMES COLLEGES GROUP
  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: LONDON

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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