60 seconds with learning disability nursing lecturer Stacey Atkinson
Nurses need to be more vocal and shout from the rooftops about the good work they are doing, says Stacey Atkinson.
Nurses need to be more vocal and shout from the rooftops about the good work they are doing, says Stacey Atkinson
Former Nursing Standard Nurse of the Year Stacey Atkinson trained at a Leeds school of nursing attached to a hospital for people with learning disabilities. She qualified in 1990 and worked in residential care and as a community learning disability nurse for children and adults before moving into education. Married with two children, she is now a senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield. In 2003 she was awarded an MBE for services to children with learning disabilities.
What are your main work responsibilities?
As well as teaching learning disability nursing to students, I ensure that other health professionals are aware of the needs of people with learning disabilities. This includes nurses from other fields, physiotherapists, midwives and doctors.
How did you get your job?
When I was a community nurse, I used to regularly teach students at the University of Leeds. I love teaching, so when a post came up I applied.
What do you love about your job?
Shaping the future workforce. It is vital that our client group has a professional workforce who are passionate, knowledgeable and compassionate. I enjoy developing that in people.
What do you find most difficult?
Learning disability nurses train for 3 years, looking solely at the needs of this client group. It is frustrating when people underestimate what we do. If our skills are undermined, effective multidisciplinary working is hampered and our clients get a lesser service.
What is your top priority at work?
Keeping the needs of people with learning disabilities very much on the map and continuing to train excellent nurses.
What has been your most formative career experience?
I was awarded Nursing Standard’s Nurse of the Year in 2002, and an MBE the following year for my work enabling young people with learning disabilities to express their sexuality. This made me realise how we need to be more vocal as nurses and shout from the rooftops about what we are doing, so that others can learn from us.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Soak it up and enjoy it. You’re going to have the time of your life.