My job

Morrissey and why I became a learning disability nurse

David Harling was inspired by The Smiths to make something of his life. He chose a career in social care and nursing and he now shapes and leads national policy on learning disabilities.
David Harling

What is your job?

I am the lead for learning disability based in the nursing directorate in NHS Improvement, the new national body responsible for providing support to NHS trusts. I offer expert advice and strategic leadership to ensure we can support providers to deliver compassionate, high quality and safe learning disability services to patients.

Why did you become a learning disability nurse?

After leaving school, I started a course in social care and one of my placements was at a hostel for people with learning disabilities moving out of a local long-stay hospital. The manager of the hostel, Tony Railton, was a learning disability nurse and he was a fantastic ambassador for the profession. He is the reason I trained as a learning disability nurse. At the time, he was pioneering normalisation and actively promoted inclusion.

What might you

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