Advice and development

Idea for tackling health inequality changed our practice forever

We are six nursing students who recognised that people with learning disabilities, and their carers, can sometimes receive care which does not meet their needs. They also have some of the poorest health in the country.

We are six nursing students who recognised that people with learning disabilities, and their carers, can sometimes receive care which does not meet their needs. They also have some of the poorest health in the country.

We saw an opportunity to highlight these issues to first-year students in Scotland and all fields of practice when, last September, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) gave us the opportunity to organise and deliver a conference.

The aim was to tackle challenges faced by people with learning difficulties and their carers by empowering student nurses to aim for positive outcomes. Subsequently, we devised the Learning Disability Awareness Network (LDAN).

We set out to ensure the conference would meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council requirements. The legacy was that students from various universities would have the opportunity to subsequently put on their own smaller events – run by third-year students for first-year students – meeting NMC outcomes and improving health inequalities.

The themes that we focused on were communication and service user involvement. We identified these as key learning objectives for attendees, and sourced organisations and experts with experience to share knowledge and skills.

Undertaking this task has given us an experience of the challenges faced in nursing practice and helped us further develop our time management skills, particularly as each of us have various other commitments over and above our degrees. This has allowed us to reflect on ways to keep focusing on organising our schedules in nursing practice and prioritising workloads.

Maintaining clear lines of communication was of the utmost importance during the conference. We were in contact over social media and had regular meetings either on Skype or in person. This has enhanced our nursing practice because we have developed negotiation skills and it enabled us to develop our skills using technology to communicate. This will help us think creatively when working with others.

We have become involved in aspects of organisation and decision making that nursing students would not usually have access to. Working together with different organisations has been a great experience and will be useful in practice when working in a multi-agency setting.

While developing new organisational skills we have learned much about learning disabilities and access to health care.

We have had an opportunity to reflect on how our own practice can affect person-centred outcomes for vulnerable adults and relished the opportunity to share this learning with students at a national level. Most importantly our practice surrounding people with learning difficulties is forever changed and we will now fight to eradicate the barriers to accessing healthcare services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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