Why I chose learning disability nursing as my future career – Lauren Skyrme

My name is Lauren, I am 21 years old and I am currently a third year learning disability nurse on placement with Doncaster Continuing Health Care team (CHC).

Lauren Skyrme – third year Learning Disability nursing student

I am writing this blog to share my experiences as a student nurse coming straight from sixth form.

When I started my training nearly three years ago I was absolutely terrified. I was only 17, moving away from home to do a course where I had no previous experience.

Walking into the lecture hall on my first day was very overwhelming with a room full of individuals of different ages and different life experiences. However, you soon come to realise that you are not alone; everyone is in the same boat and wanting to learn as much as they can about a fantastic career in nursing.

So why did I choose to become a learning disability nurse? My immediate answer is why not! I chose learning disability nursing because I have a huge interest in learning about disabilities and I was also aware of the inequalities faced by individual with a learning disability. I thought this was my chance to do something special to help improve the lives of people with a learning disability. I also knew early on that I wanted to be a nurse, specialising in an area that has life changing outcomes for people.

Working with people who have difficulties within daily life and empowering them to cope on a day to day basis is very rewarding for me as a student nurse. I have worked with a number of individuals who have many daily difficulties within their day to day lives; this could be anything ranging from epilepsy to anxiety. Working collaboratively to enable them to live as independently as possible is so important.

It is great to see in Doncaster that new, innovative projects and programmes are taking place to make it easier for people with a learning disability to access a range of health and care service and have the confidence to do so. The launch of the new Learning Disability primary care health passport this week is a great example of how services are working together across Doncaster to encourage health and care professionals to be aware of individual needs so they can tailor their questions which on many occasions can be frustrating for an individual living with a learning disability. It’s schemes like this that I really want to get involved in and shape in my future career as a learning disability nurse.

Specialising in learning disability nursing has helped me to become much more aware of the history of care for people that have a learning disability and the improvements in care that have occurred over the years. The eradication of institutions; as a result of the care in the community agenda has had a massive influence on the standard of care provided in todays practice. Being aware of these changes has provided me with more understanding surrounding the stigmas of people with learning disabilities and the need for such stigma to be challenged.

As a young student, I would highly recommend learning disability nursing to anyone who wants a rewarding yet challenging career where no one day is ever the same.

After nearly three years of studying this course I would not change it for the world and I can’t wait to embark on my career, supporting, influencing and improving the lives of individuals with a learning disability. The options and opportunities are endless.

Watch a short video of Lauren: