Opinion

Celebrating 100 years of learning disability nursing at the House of Commons

Nurse Kirsty Colley reflects on the day she spoke at the House of Commons' centenary event

Learning disability nurse Kirsty Colley spoke at the Commons in a celebration to mark 100 years of the field of practice


Kirsty Colley at the House of Commons  

In June I was invited to the House of Commons to celebrate a centenary of learning disability nursing, hosted by Baroness Sheila Hollins.

Attending were Cheswold Park Hospital chief nurse Debra Moore, learning disability nurses from around the country and people with learning disabilities, including a performer from DanceSyndrome.

I work at Cheswold Park in Doncaster, a secure hospital for men with mental health issues, learning disabilities and autism. Many patients have been in trouble with the law and admitted from prisons or other hospitals.

I am a conflict resolution adviser and trainer, facilitating the learning of hospital staff in conflict management and positive behaviour support. My work is central to the hospital’s efforts to reduce the use of restrictive and physical interventions.

People with learning disabilities took an active part in the celebration

I wanted to represent my colleagues well and make a good impression at the House of Commons event.

Everyone made me feel welcome, was supportive towards each other and showed a keen interest in what each other had to say. It was great to see individuals with learning disabilities take an active role in the management of the celebration and they looked as though they were having a great time.

As the session began, I felt anxious about standing in front of everyone, telling them about my role and what learning disability nursing means to me. However, once it was my turn, my anxieties disappeared.

I spoke about reducing barriers in practice and empowering individuals to live the best quality of life by using positive behavior support. 

I felt enthused to tell everyone how much I enjoy my job and how rewarding making a difference is.

Pride as Cheswold Park Hospital chief nurse receives a gold award for nursing excellence

After my speech I felt a sense of success and achievement. During the afternoon I was offered some great career opportunities that I could only dream of doing.

At the end of the day Ms Moore received a well-deserved gold award for nursing from England's chief nursing officer Ruth May.

The occasion and award all reminded me that I am proud to work with people with learning disabilities and I am proud to be a learning disability nurse.


Kirsty Colley is a learning disability nurse, Cheswold Park Hospital, Doncaster

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