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About RNLD Jobs
When the brain’s ability to receive, process and respond to information is disturbed or impaired through problems in the Central Nervous System (CNS), learning in a typical manner becomes challenging and sometimes impossible. People with these issues are considered to have learning disabilities and, often, these problems with the CNS will cause or be related to other impairments and conditions (e.g. mental retardation and other psychogenic conditions). Depending on the severity of these problems the person may need to be accommodated and cared for in a Nursing or Care Home dedicated to caring for people with learning disabilities in a safe and secure environment.
RNLD jobs in these homes are challenging. They include: individual observation; assessment; nursing care and therapy planning; implementation and supervision of the implementation of that plan; evaluating the plan; reporting and making suggestions for the future. All this based on scientific principles and focused on what is best for each individual resident.
RNLD jobs require the nurse to be passionate about caring for people with learning disabilities, understanding the effect on their lives, their environment, people around them and society as a whole. RNLDs will also appreciate how skilled caring can help improve the resident’s condition and alleviate many of the associated problems, improving their quality of life.
Personality traits of compassion, empathy, patience and dedication are necessary to be a successful RNLD - together with humility, flexibility and a sense of humour. The challenge of caring for people with learning disabilities provides its own rewards as you experience the effect of your caring on their lives daily. This, together with ongoing training provided from the home and a network of support externally make RNLD jobs very satisfying and fulfilling.
Learning disability nursing is a form of nursing that provides the necessarily specialised care to individuals with learning disabilities and their families.
It differs slightly from the other nursing strands insofar as that part of your job is to promote inclusion alongside good health. Person-centered planning is also a key part of this role; this is designed to ensure your service user gets their genuine desires prioritised above the expectations and desires of the health and sociocultural systems they live within.
Learning disability nursing is also another area where we can confidently predict a continuing rise in RNLD jobs. People with learning disabilities are not immune from the good living standards we all enjoy; they too are living longer. Similarly, a 2006 Department of Health report noted a growing need for RLDNs as community care becomes more appropriate for service users.
If you're thinking about or training for a learning disability nurse job, read on. We've covered how to do it, what you need to do it, what kind of person you need to be and why you'll love it!
Where will I work in my RNLD job?
As people with learning disabilities require support in all areas of their lives (and not just when their health needs peak or become acute), the range of places you'll work is slightly wider.
As always, you could work in hospitals, residential homes, nursing homes or in the community but you may also work in day centres, education for both children and adults or at home with families.
How do I become an RNLD?
You will follow a standard nursing pre-registration degree course that all nurses undertake, followed by registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The only difference is that, following your first year in the Common Foundation Program, you specialise in Learning Disability nursing. Occasionally, programs offer a double-stranded program and you'll be able to specialise in this kind of nursing alongside that for children, adults or those with mental health issues.
What sort of person is good for an RNLD job?
As mentioned before, RNLD jobs need you to champion your service user as well as provide great health care.
You'll need to be both committed and assertive in order to advocate for your user's needs. As you may work in the home and education system too, you will be exposed to more instances where you'll need to insist on certain treatment or behaviours to ensure they get equality and accessibility.
The usual qualities for nursing apply too – patience, communication skills and being warm and open with strong self-awareness. The ability to reflect and improve on your behaviour will benefit the practice of any health care professional but when you work this closely with people's lives, it can be particularly useful.
Why it's a great job
Jo Welch, a senior lecturer in this area, notes that RNLD nursing jobs can be seen as less glamorous than the other specialisation options but that it is in fact an incredibly valuable resource to the profession.
It can take time to impart the skills you are trying to help with but when people with learning disabilities absorb these fully, their life quality improvement can be dramatic.
The meaningfulness of what you have done and the kick you get yourself from it makes RNLD jobs an area where you will find a really committed, enthusiastic and reflective colleague team!
Furthermore, the opportunity is there for your job to be quite technically interesting and challenging. People with learning disabilities are more likely to have complex health needs and use medical technology to assist their health. This makes learning disability nursing an area where you can really learn and specialise in a wider variety of ways.