School of Health Sciences

Caring for People with Learning Disabilities

Learning Disability branch nurses

People who live with a learning disability represent over 10% of our population, yet they still face discrimination and exclusion from services and opportunities designed to not only meet needs but promote independence.

As a learning disability nurse you will meet people in environments where they live, work, learn, and have fun. You will be introduced to the knowledge and essential skill base of a Registered Nurse, ensuring you are fit for purpose to effectively facilitate the desired lifestyle choice for that person.


Help and support 

Some people with learning disabilities may not have had the opportunity to develop the independence skills to access the services they need. Similarly, a family may need help and support to make sense of the situation they face and the services available to them. Therefore, you will need a great deal of empathy and understanding in order to work with people, their families and carers. A complex range of care packages may be required. 

Career opportunities

The skills and knowledge you develop during your time at Nottingham will open up avenues in specialist social care services, education and the private and voluntary sectors, alongside more mainstream health services. You can also specialise in particular areas, such as: 

  • forensic nursing 
  • specialist health promotion work 
  • challenging behaviour services 
  • family therapy 
  • other psychotherapeutic interventions 

Alternatively, you could see yourself involved in the management of services or even contributing to cutting-edge research.

Hear from Helen Laverty, our Professional Lead for Learning Disability Nursing about inspiring leaders:


Learning in Practice

Working with people with a range of conditions, your placements can take place in a number of environments in the public, private and voluntary sectors. You could find yourself working in a care home, family home, secure forensic service or school, assessing, planning care and managing medication. 

You will also work closely with families and other healthcare professionals to help those affected with learning disabilities (some of whom may also have physical disabilities) to access the right services and lead a successful life. 

In the first year, you're likely to work with individuals with moderate learning disabilities, before progressing to more challenging environments where people have more demanding behavioural problems. 



School of Health Sciences

B236, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15559