This professional course aims to enable you to make real changes to the lives of people with learning disabilities, one of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in society.
It is designed to equip you with the hands-on clinical and care skills to prepare you to practise autonomously and compassionately, providing person-centred care and building therapeutic relationships to support people with a learning disability across all ages, regardless of personal characteristics or aspects of their lifestyle and circumstances, together with their families, carers, and friends.
Ranked 7th in the UK for Nursing in the Guardian University Guide 2019, Coventry University offers a state-of-the-art Clinical Skills Centre with up-to-date equipment and simulators. Our nursing courses enjoy high levels of student satisfaction – 95% overall in the latest National Student Survey (NSS).
In modern health and social care settings nursing students are increasingly required to work towards becoming autonomous practitioners, taking a leadership role in decisions regarding patient care within multi-professional settings. They routinely have the most frequent and intense contact with patients and must be competent in recognising changes in patient condition so that appropriate action can be taken.
This curriculum has been developed as a spiral curriculum with assessment at its core. Placing equal value on practice and theory, undertaking 800 hours of both per year, you will have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects, including anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, psychology, sociology and research methods. This course will give you the opportunity to become immersed in learning about the needs of populations, individuals, related health and nursing services with an emphasis on using research to enhance and improve services.
You will have the opportunity to learn the value of people with learning disabilities as equal citizens and people who have a real contribution to make to your development as a caring professional nurse in this unique ﬁeld of practice. You will have the opportunity to study and develop specialist skills in communication, comprehensive health assessment, equality and issues related to professional practice. This includes complex health needs, profound and multiple needs, care packages and therapeutic approaches to service users with learning disability, their families and carers.
The collaborative curriculum, which you’ll study alongside students from other health-related courses, has been developed in response to the need to produce professionals who are effective communicators, caring and compassionate, with good relationship building skills. It recognises the importance of inter-professional working within the health and social care workforce and comprises five core modules in the areas of: the foundations of communication and professionalism; the social determinants of health and wellbeing; evidence informed practice and decision making; working together to lead service improvement; and enhancing practice through evaluation and research.
Your degree culminates with a literature review related to one aspect of nursing practice, equivalent to the standard dissertation, for which you will write a 5,000-word report. Past students have covered topics as diverse as effects of antipsychotic medication, uptake of annual health checks, treatment of people with LD in acute hospital settings, experiences of parents with LD and experiences of offenders with LD, for example.
Why choose this course?
Learning disability nurses play a critical role in improving their patients’ physical and mental health, reducing barriers to them living an independent life and supporting them to lead a fulfilling and healthy life where they can relate to others on equal terms. A hugely rewarding profession, it is a great career choice if you are compassionate and keen to support individuals of all ages through the many physical, mental and social challenges facing people with learning disabilities.
This course aims to prepare you for the dynamic and fast changing health and social care system, developing you into an adaptable, flexible, reflective, competent and compassionate practitioner. Actively engaging with people with learning disabilities, their families and carers from the outset, you’ll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience under supervision from qualified mentors, spending up to 50% of your time on clinical practice placements in a range of healthcare environments within the NHS in hospitals and community placements, at private hospitals and independent care providers.
While the course has a clear focus on people with learning disabilities, a key benefit of our curriculum is the notion of collaboration across all areas of health and social care. Your studies will be complemented with signiﬁcant insights into a range of potential challenges to health and wellbeing throughout the lifespan, such as mental health, complex care and life limiting conditions. Some modules are also studied in conjunction with other health and social care professionals; looking at specific issues and challenges they face to broaden your knowledge and expertise.
Our links with universities in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Kenya provide opportunities for student exchanges and, through the University’s volunteering schemes, you have the chance to work overseas on ‘live’ projects such as orphanage work in Uganda. European links are also in development with potential field trips to Finland and Spain to compare health courses and nurse training globally.
International experience opportunities
Throughout the course, we provide key insights into cultural diversity and global issues of significance to public health and all fields of nursing practice. For example, we look at what it means to be culturally competent within health care today. There are also opportunities to study specific issues of interest to you, such as people trafficking, working in war torn or developing countries. Some of this is supported by guest lecturers or simulation facilitators and others through topical issues covered within the course.
For students who have performed well in their academic studies, it is possible towards the end of the second year to devise a short placement abroad within Europe or beyond – typically three to four weeks’ duration (additional costs may apply). We have existing links with universities in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Kenya, as well as agreements with several European institutions which have been utilised for incoming and outgoing student exchanges.
Students and visiting lecturers from other countries provide an input into the course, previously from areas such as Hong Kong, Japan and Africa. We also participate in a number of senior staff exchanges, for example, from India and China, who can provide additional insights to students into international issues.
There are over 3,500 learning disabilities nurses within the NHS and demand for these specialist nurses is high.
You will have opportunities to support people of all ages with learning disabilities in a range of settings, including: hospital wards such as epilepsy and palliative care; mental health trusts; adult education; residential and community centres; patients’ homes; workplaces; and schools. This can lead to specialist areas such as education, sensory disability or service management or move into areas such as management, teaching or clinical research.
During your three years on the programme you will have the opportunity to undertake at least six placements in a range of service settings, working with and alongside qualiﬁed learning disability nurses, and therefore potential local and regional employers. On graduating successfully from this course, you can apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which enables you to practise immediately.
As well as helping you to find suitable work placements and give you advice on how to get the most out of them, the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences’ Employability and Placements Unit will support you when you are ready to begin your professional career.
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