Thursday, 8 January 2009

Who is the learning disability nurse?

I met with a friend today who trained as a learning disability nurse at the same time I did - the early 1980's. Fairly soon after qualifying she went to work in residential care with what is now the Local Authority. She maintained her registration as a nurse for years (and to be fair she may still today but we havent had that conversation for a long time). Some twenty odd years later still works with people with learning disabilities - instead of patients or clients they are 'tenants' and before that they were 'service users'. She is called a Care manager and had to undertake an NVQ qualification to meet the requirements of her employer but she did because she wanted to work with people with learning disabilities. Did her nurse education create the person who then left the NHS to work within a different model of care? Was she already subscribing to that model prior to her nurse education through her own set of beliefs and values about people with learning disabilities? What was her contribution to the inclusion of people with learning disabilities in society and was that the nurse in her or was it in spite of nursing?

So who is my sample for this study? Learning disability nurses currently on the register and working in NHS provision or will that be too narrow and take me to a place that defines learning disability in a very specific way. What about those nurses (?) who no longer 'nurse'?

Will leave that one for a while and come back to it. Its late!!!


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