Comment

Why the future’s looking bright for learning disability nursing

With an increasing population in need of care of support, there are many career opportunities

Adults with learning disabilities are living longer and more children are being diagnosed with neurodevelopmental conditions, meaning more and divergent career opportunities for nurses

Is learning disability nursing the most exciting area of healthcare to be working in? I believe it is and here’s why.

Despite all the change and uncertainty in our field of practice in recent years, I think change is inevitable, but what’s important is how we view it and whether we choose to see the opportunities that are there.

That’s what makes it such an exciting time for us.

Increasing population in need of care and support

There is certainly clear evidence about the changing population of children, adults and older

Adults with learning disabilities are living longer and more children are being diagnosed with neurodevelopmental conditions, meaning more and divergent career opportunities for nurses

Adults with learning disabilities are living longer and more children are being diagnosed with neurodevelopmental conditions, meaning more and divergent career opportunities for nurses
Picture: iStock

Is learning disability nursing the most exciting area of healthcare to be working in? I believe it is and here’s why.

Despite all the change and uncertainty in our field of practice in recent years, I think change is inevitable, but what’s important is how we view it and whether we choose to see the opportunities that are there.

That’s what makes it such an exciting time for us.

Increasing population in need of care and support

There is certainly clear evidence about the changing population of children, adults and older people with learning disabilities, so we know for a fact that they will be frequent users of our health services.

They touch every aspect of our care services, that to me brings opportunities for learning disability nurses. We know the population is increasing, which means we are going to need more responses and not less.

Older people with learning disabilities living longer with complex needs, such as dementia, and there is an increasing population in need of care and support.

The opportunities are huge to help with neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Knowledge, skills, attitudes and values are all necessary learning disability nursing attributes

We know we are getting much better with our assessment tools, diagnosis and interventions, so for people who are interested in children and young adults, there is lots of work there.

For some of these young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, early intervention and family support is key, if not they will be the generation that will seep into our criminal justice system, our treatment units and we cannot ignore the poor practice that sometimes does take place.

Learning disability nurses need to ensure they have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to address the needs of an increasing population.


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