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Course content

Learning disability nurses enable individuals to live their lives to their full potential within the social context they choose, through collaborative interventions across a variety of health and social care settings and by using specialist input, through person centred practice, underpinned by the concept of partnership working.

This course teaches you to promote social inclusion, good mental and physical health and self-determination through developing your skills, knowledge and attributes. All learning is grounded in a strong evidence base of integrative health and social care modelling. Our placements are varied, offering you the chance to create a future career that will be rewarding both for your personal and professional advancement.


You will be taught separately from the three-year undergraduate students and will study the following:

Year 1

Improving quality, change management and leadership
Building practice skills for learning disability nursing
Applied physiology, growth and development
Contemporary issues in learning disability nursing

Year 2

Research in health and social care
Enhancing practice skills in learning disability nursing
Complexity in learning disabilities
Advanced communication

MSc pathway

You'll follow the same modules as outlined above for the PgDip, with the addition of a dissertation:

Assessment methods vary within each module, mapped against the professional standards as outlined by the NMC (2010) and assessed either through course work, and/or clinical placement assessments. Written assessments include essays, case study's, and critical reviews of evidence for example. Clinical practice assessments include achievements of identified competencies, a learning assessment portfolio, and problem based scenarios.

Teaching and learning

You'll be expected to work as an independent adult learner, working alongside academic staff to expand and extend your knowledge, skills and attitudes as a critical scholar in the field of Intellectual Disabilities.

You'll be allocated a personal tutor, a cohort leader, and a course director, plus clinical mentors, and link lecturers whilst on placement.

The course makes use of the virtual learning environment MOODLE, an interactive based system for accurate and rapid information sharing, so course materials are available whenever you need them. A range of learning styles are employed, including visits from service users and their carers, to ensure the course remains contemporary and applied to real life situations.


Every student will spend 50% of the course on placement. You'll have the opportunity to work in partnership with individuals with learning disabilities and their families using a health mentoring model. Alternatively you can work in partnership with community based organisations on projects where all parties increase their awareness, understanding and valuing of their roles, using strength based approaches.

The placement aim is to provide a broad range of experiences working with children and adults with learning disabilities in a variety of settings. This will enhance your knowledge and experience of the range of challenges people with a learning disability may face on a daily basis and what can be done to assist not only the individual but also their families.

You'll also gain insight into what is available to support workers and organisations providing services in the areas of physical and mental health, complex care needs, communication, behaviours of concern, sexuality, personal care and a range of other areas. The learning disability nursing programmes at LSBU have a long history of partnership working with agencies in the NHS and independent and voluntary sector. The Professional Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at the Department of Health England is a frequent guest speaker who inspires Learning Disability nurses to influence and innovate.

Learning disability nursing as a career

The course will enable you to develop a wide range of employability skills through the emphasis on a vocational approach to teaching which leads to a professional qualification leading to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

There is an increasing body of research that shows the need for learning disability nurses as a specialist resource to address health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities. The course will give you the specialist knowledge and skills to work in a wide range of services, and the confidence to work collaboratively with people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, and other professionals and agencies.

Role and responsibilities

As a learning disabilities nurse you would work with people of all ages to give them the skills and confidence they need to live as independently as possible. You'd be working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and be responsible for co-ordinating care plans with other healthcare professionals, as well as monitoring progress. A learning disabilities nurse would be responsible for making an initial assessment of a patient's health and social care needs.

Day-to-day duties would be likely to include help and encouragement with tasks such as personal hygiene, dressing, using public transport, shopping, leisure interests, making and attending appointments, and finding a job. Learning disabilities nursing also involves campaigning on behalf of those with learning disabilities, supporting the agenda for equality and trying to improve healthcare services for those with learning difficulties.

Career progression

Successful graduates of the PgDip can top-up to MSc in one year and will be qualified to study a range of further specialist postgraduate pathways. With additional experience, advanced practice is available at Masters level with the potential to progress to doctorate studies. Once you are a registered nurse browse our online CPPD prospectus to find out what courses are on offer to help with your professional development.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

• Direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
• Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
• Mentoring and work shadowing schemes.

Visit the Learning Disability Nursing - PgDip/MSc page on the London South Bank University website for more details!




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