Transforming care for children with learning disabilities
Lead nurse for learning disabilities, Raj Jhamat, has transformed the care and support available to many South Asian families in the West Midlands whose children have learning disabilities
Birmingham Children’s Hospital lead nurse for learning disabilities, Raj Jhamat, has transformed the care and support available to many South Asian families in the West Midlands whose children have learning disabilities . She has won several awards for her work and has been named as a Queen’s Nurse. She spoke to Erin Dean about her career so far.
When she left school aged 16, Raj Jhamat began a community care course at a local college. While there she came into contact with people with learning disabilities for the first time. ‘I was a bit scared to begin with,’ she says. ‘Then I really enjoyed it. I found that learning disability nursing gives immense job satisfaction and I developed a passion for promoting service users’ equality in society.’
After she completed her course, Ms Jhamat began work as a support worker at a day centre for people with severe learning and physical disabilities in West Bromwich. The work involved supporting people who were preparing for independent living and needed life skills.
‘I felt frustrated at times that I wanted to do more to integrate them into their community, but I couldn’t in my remit as a support worker.’
Ms Jhamat then spent two years as a work experience officer for Sandwell Council helping people with learning disabilities and mental health problems into employment, apprenticeships and placements. In 1995, she became an NHS community support worker for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems in Birmingham, before moving to a similar post in Wolverhampton.
This article was published under the original title 'Lifetime’s dedication' in Learning Disability Practice, 30 March 2015, volume 18, issue 3.