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Learning Disability Nursing BSc (Hons)


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Key Information Set (KIS) Data is only gathered for undergraduate full-time courses. There are a number of reasons why this course does not have KIS data associated with it. For example, it may be a franchise course run at a partner college or a course designed for continuing professional development.


Learning disability nurses work in partnership with people who have a range of intellectual and physical disabilities, assisting with aspects of everyday living across the life span.

8 reasons to study here

Professional accreditation: Approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Achieving excellence: Ranked No.2 London Modern University for Learning Opportunities, Academic Support, Student Voice and Overall satisfaction in Nursing (National Student Survey 2017) .
Professional links: Graduates of this course are eligible to register as a learning disabilities nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Heritage: LSBU has been developing, delivering and evaluating courses in the field of learning disability nursing for the past 20 years.
Happy students: No.1 London modern university in the UK for Satisfied overall with course in Health Professions (Guardian League Table 2018).
Industry relevant: We are affiliated with world-renowned hospitals and Trusts in London and the South East.
Work experience: You will experience a variety of clinical settings such as NHS Trusts, community placements, independent sector and voluntary sector organisations.
Dedicated facilities: Our counselling and communication suite is the ideal place to role play realistic work-based scenarios.

This degree course covers...

In response to best practice guidance and changing service demand, we have developed an innovative and contemporary course of study, leading to a Registered Nurses Learning Disability (RNLD) nursing qualification.

The course focuses on theories of learning disability nursing and practice, healthcare planning and assessment, and enabling practitioners to be able to support people with learning disabilities across the lifespan. The course has a holistic focus, taking into account physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural wellbeing.

You will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop sound communication, interpersonal and therapeutic intervention skills and be fully equipped to meet the additional requirements of patients with more complex needs such as dual diagnosis and multiple and profound disability.


Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
3 years
Start Date
Southwark Campus

Case studies


Methods of assessment for course overall: 59% coursework

Year 1

  • Concepts of inter-professional and collaborative practice
    This module introduces the place and value of inter-professional and collaborative working in health and social care delivery. The module aims to support the development of the necessary communication, personal, partnership working and reflective practice skills required to meet the needs of clients/carers and diverse populations who are at the centre of inter-professional health and social care delivery. You’ll work collaboratively on-line to explore and develop understanding of the purpose, scope and range of inter-professional and collaborative working. 
  • Introducing evidence-based practice in learning disability nursing
    This module introduces the nature of evidence in health and social care and the importance of evidence-based practice for people with learning disabilities and their identified circles of support. You’ll develop skills in accessing evidence, gain familiarity with the library, including use of electronic databases, and learn how to use the university’s referencing system for your material. You’ll learn key terms relating to research and evidence-based practice and be introduced to an evidence-based practice model. The module also sets out the context for the conduct of health and social care research, including funding and ethical aspects.  
  • Essentials of biosciences for health
    The module provides understanding of the structure of the body’s’ systems, their function and how the human body maintains health. As the structure of organs and body systems is closely linked to their function the two sciences of anatomy and physiology cannot be separated as structure determines the functions each organ or system can perform. This will form a basis for future learning and application. It has been designed to run across the whole year to ensure consistency and application as students experience a variety of practice areas.
  • Contexts and concepts in learning disabilities
    This module will explore the past, present and future contexts of life for people with learning disabilities and the role of learning disability nursing. The module provides the foundation for working with people who have a learning disability in a range of settings, across the lifespan. Historical factors that have influenced and shaped current practice will be highlighted. You’ll gain insight into the pathways which have influenced current legislation, social policies, ethical stance, and approaches to health and disability.  
  • Practice skills for learning disabilities nursing
    In this module, you’ll focus on understanding and exploring the clinical practice skills required for the role of the learning disability nurse working across the contexts where the care and support of people with learning disabilities is delivered. The module considers the lifespan approach to bio-psycho-social human development, health and wellbeing when considering the clinical practice skills required to adequately provide safe and effective health care to people with learning disabilities. You’ll develop skills in recognising deterioration in mental and physical health and will develop specialist communication skills. 

Year 2

  • Inter-professional learning in practice
    This module builds upon the Concepts of inter-professional learning and collaborative practice gained in year one of the programme and expands to look at the environment, teamwork and collaboration. It will promote the exploration of inter-professional practice in the clinical situation working with peers and health consumers. 
  • Appraising evidence-based practice in learning disability nursing
    This module considers how research questions are generated from practice with application to Learning Disability Nursing. The steps in conducting research and audit and the main research methods in health and social care are explained and associated ethical aspects are discussed. Methods of analysing and presenting different types of research data are introduced. The rationale for appraising research is considered and critical appraisal tools are reviewed. The module equips Learning Disability Nursing Students with the core skills and understanding to appraise evidence and assess its appropriateness to be implemented into practice.
  • Contemporary issues in learning disability nursing
    In this module you’ll have the opportunity to investigate and participate in informed debate around the pertinent trends, latest evidence, political directives and health and social care challenges, as they emerge, so that people with learning disabilities are 'treated the same as everyone else (even when they have to change things to make this happen’). 
  • Applied physiology across the lifespan
    This module encompasses the growth and development of people with learning disabilities and builds knowledge of applied physiology in relation to complex health needs. There will be a range of practice experiences in year 2 and 3 of the programme. You’ll utilise a `hub and spoke` model in which the hub is the main focus of the practice learning whilst other learning opportunities are also accessed e.g. visits, shadowing activities, time in other related services. In year 2 of the programme, you’ll have had three learning disability nursing practice experiences of 24 weeks in total. As you progress through these practice learning experiences, you’re required to develop and demonstrate skills in assessment (including risk), planning care and making simple evidence-based interventions.
  • Specialist interventions in learning disability nursing
    This module will build on your knowledge of the range of issues that affect individuals who have a learning disability, offering opportunities to explore evidence-based supports and interventions to meet the needs of this group. The module will facilitate the application of contemporary theory to practice, developing your ability to find and apply relevant research. This module will also enhance communication skills to work in partnership with individuals with learning disabilities, their identified circle of support and the wider multidisciplinary team, in order to best meet the needs of those they are supporting in the practice settings. 

Year 3

  • Improving quality, change management and leadership
    This module will explore leadership, quality improvement and change within organisations from an inter-professional perspective. The module looks at a strategic, evidence-based approach to change management in a range of environments, integrating the perspectives of service users.  
  • Implementing evidence-based practice in learning disability nursing
    In this module you’ll focus on a topic relevant to your practice experience and will examine underpinning evidence, identifying limitations and drawing conclusions. You’ll examine evidence-based practice models and analyse factors that influence the implementation of best evidence in practice. You’ll reflect on how implementing best evidence affects the experiences of people with learning disabilities and their identified circles of support.  
  • Emerging trends in learning disabilities
    This module focuses on new and developing trends in four areas of learning disability practice. Following a short series of introductory sessions, you’ll be able to choose student led seminars that focus on community learning disability nursing, mental health in learning disability nursing, forensic services or social enterprise. You’ll choose your seminar based on your intended first destination to improve your employability.
  • Complexity in the world of people with learning disabilities
    In this module you’ll gain in-depth knowledge of underlying causal conditions, physical and mental health conditions and related behavioural phenotypes. There is a critical focus on pharmacology and medicine optimisation, and you’ll develop the specialist knowledge to choose and implement appropriate and effective specialist interventions. 
  • Promoting self-determination and inclusion
    In this module you’ll present issues that relate to individuals and families with whom you have worked with in the practice setting and will work in small groups to develop a campaign on relevant issues. This module provides you with advanced knowledge and skills to challenge poor practice and to promote person-centredness at all levels of support for people with learning disabilities.


Learning disability nursing as a career

A vocational approach to teaching means you will develop impeccable communication, interpersonal and therapeutic intervention skills, which will prepare you for a career in a range of learning disability nursing opportunities across a range of settings, including the NHS, independent and voluntary sectors. Successful completion fulfils the requirements for graduates to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a registered Nurse - Learning Disabilities (RNLD).

Role and responsibilities

Day-to-day duties could include leading activities that promote health, well-being and independence - giving practical help and encouragement with everything from personal hygiene to finding a job.

With experience, there are multiple opportunities for specialisation as your career progresses – such as: health management, specialist activities, supported living management, research or nurse education. 

Working hours and salary

Hours can be demanding. Long shifts, unsocial hours and possibly being called to work at the last minute are all common. A Learning Disability Nurse starts on a salary around £21,000. However, with career progression and developed experience this can extend to well over £50,000. (Prospects)

Career progression

As a graduate from this course, you will be able to apply for further study at postgraduate level. Find out more about professional development courses available through our online CPPD prospectus.

LSBU Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018

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.

As an LSBU student you have access to the Employability Service and its resources during your time here and for two years after you graduate.

Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or a placement/internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the career 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 network with students
  • Job Shop – daily drop in service to help with, tailoring CVs, cover letters and applications, sourcing online resource, mock interviews and general job searching. One to one appointments for further support also available
  • Mentoring and work shadowing schemes
  • Higher education achievement report - The HEAR is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement, which acknowledges fully the range of opportunities that LSBU offers to our students.
    It pulls into one certificate: Module grades, Course descriptions, Placements, LSBU verified extra-curricular activities
  • Employability workshops - delivered free to students all year round on a variety of related topics
  • Careers fairs throughout the year to really focus your thoughts on a career after university

Find out about any of these services by visiting our student employability page


Time spent on placement

During the course you will spend 50% of your time involved in academic study and 50% in clinical practice within a broad variety of healthcare settings.   A clinical practice placement allows you to put theory into practice by working with a range of health professionals in clinical situations to develop the skills, knowledge and experience required to become a competent nurse.  Although sometimes initially challenging, practice learning is one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of learning to be a nurse.

Clinical settings

At LSBU you will experience a variety of clinical settings such as NHS acute Trusts, community placements, independent sector and voluntary sector organisations. 

Structure of placements

Placements are spread over the three years:

Year 1

You will have two clinical placements.  These are designed to introduce you to working in a professional setting and to develop essential care and basic assessment skills, infection control and learn about safeguarding vulnerable people.

Year 2

You will have three clinical placements of around eight weeks each and building on the experience gained from year one will begin to take on more responsibility, progressing your clinical reasoning skills and begin to look after one or two patients of your own under supervision.

Year 3

Year three will involve two clinical placements, plus one four week elective placement in which you can choose a speciality (e.g. working with Clinical Nurse Specialists, specialist services or independent and third sector providers), or a different context of care (e.g. prison, private health care facility, social care, charity, hospice etc.), or a lived experience of a certain condition (e.g. charity work, carer shadowing, etc.) During this year, you will require less supervision and will be responsible for a small group of patients making confident, proactive decisions for their health and management.

Supported by a mentor

Whilst in the clinical placement we ensure that our nursing students receive continuous support and guidance from a dedicated mentor and practice learning teams made up of lecturers and practitioners.


Dr Louise Terry

School/Division: Health and Social Care / Adult Nursing and Midwifery
Job title: Reader in Law and Ethics

Dr Louise Terry is Reader in Law and Ethics, and specialises in teaching health and social care law and ethics. She has particular interest in withholding and withdrawing medical treatment, resource allocation, nursing wisdom, public administration and professional practice.


Counselling and Communication Suite

Our counselling and communication suite is the ideal place for Mental Health and Learning Disability students to role play realistic work-based scenarios. It contains two adjoining rooms with a one-way window and audio link, that allows students to practice one-to-one situations with 'clients' while they are monitored by teaching staff in the adjoining room.

  • Nursing skills labs

    Nursing skills labs

    Our realistic wards and lifelike mannequins allow students, NHS trusts and businesses to practice skills in a safe environment supported by experts.

  • SimMan


    The School of Health and Social Care uses a variety of mannequins to help students learn clinical skills in a simulated care environment in laboratories.

Teaching and learning

Percentage of time spent in different learning activities
Lectures and seminars Self-directed study Work-based placements
Year 1 14% 43% 43%
Year 2 15% 44% 41%
Year 3 16% 46% 38%

Entry requirements

  • A Level BBC and 5 GCSEs A*-C including Maths and English or equivalent (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above); or;
  • BTEC National Diploma DMM  and GCSEs Maths and English A*-C (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above) or equivalent; or;
  • Access to HE Diploma in Nursing or similar with 15 Distinctions and 30 Merits and GCSEs Maths and English A*-C (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above) or equivalent; or
  • Equivalent level 3 qualifications worth 112 UCAS points; and GCSEs Maths and English A*-C (reformed GCSEs grade 4 or above) or equivalent.

Attributes and values

Nursing is a very competitive career and it is important you make a high quality application to us. Here are some tips on what attributes, skills and values we are ideally looking for in an LSBU nursing student:

  • Meet the required entry requirements for LSBU nursing courses
  • Has a good understanding of basic numeracy and literacy skills
  • Impeccable communication, caring and helping skills
  • Able to work as part of a team as well as independently
  • Reliable, patient and understanding
  • Motivated
  • Dedicated to a career in nursing and fully comprehends the responsibilities of the role
  • Personal qualities and values in line with those expected by the NHS constitution.

Interviews and assessments

As part of the selection process, you'll be expected to undertake a computer based assessment on campus which identifies your attributes for nursing and gives you an indication of various scenarios you might face. You'll also be asked to complete an interview and numeracy and literacy test. Strong
numeracy and literacy skills are essential for nursing students.

Download and practice our sample tests:

If offered a place, you must successfully complete both a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) and occupational health check, and provide proof of ordinary residency requirements and satisfactory references. A valid passport is required for enrolment purposes.

English language

Those whom English is not their first language must achieve a minimum score of 7.0 overall or equivalent, with not less than 7.0 in the listening and reading sections and not less than 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections for the International English Language Test Score (IELTS) at the time of

How to apply

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
3 years
Start date
Application code
Application method

Adult Nursing LSBU - phase 1b

All full-time undergraduate students apply to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply webpage for undergraduate students.

When making your UCAS application you will need to apply for your chosen field of nursing practice.

Five stages to your application

  1. Attend an Open Day
  2. Apply to us through UCAS
  3. Write your personal statement and use this as a tool to illustrate why you are right for the course
  4. Carry out the literacy and numeracy tests
  5. Prepare for your interview

Personal statements

Remember the personal statement is extremely important. This is essentially a selling tool on why you are right for the course. The personal statement is taken into consideration when shortlisting applicants for interview. Download our Personal Statement Guide (PDF File 160 KB).

Numeracy assessment

If your application has been successfully shortlisted you will be invited to take a numeracy test.

Read our numeracy test page for important information about the test and to help you prepare.


If you have successfully completed the numeracy test you will be invited, through UCAS Track, to attend an interview at a given time and date.

Read our interview page for important information about this stage and to help you prepare.

You will also need to complete a Declaration of character and conduct form (PDF File 166 KB) and the Interview declaration form (PDF File 44 KB) and bring these with you to your interview.

Preliminary fee assessment

At your interview we start the process of checking your eligibility for NHS funding.

In order for us to ascertain your eligibility for NHS funding, download the Preliminary Fee Assessment Form (PDF File 155 KB), complete and bring it with you to the interview. Also, ensure you bring along your evidence as noted in the letter which will enable us to assess your residency status.

Information regarding results

When the interview has finished you will be given information and advice as to what happens next, should you be either successful or unsuccessful.


These will be made available through UCAS Track usually within two weeks.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursary Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2017/18.
UK/EU fee: £9250International fee: £0
AOS/LSBU code: 3978Session code: 1FS00
Total course fee:
UK/EU £27750
International £0

Adult Nursing LSBU - phase 1b

Recent changes to funding of Health and Social Care courses

If you’re starting a pre-registration undergraduate course in nursing, midwifery or allied healthcare in September 2017 you’ll be eligible to apply for tuition fee loans via Student Finance England, as NHS bursaries will no longer be available.

In the following video Professor Warren Turner, Dean of our School of Health and Social Care, answers some of the questions you may have around funding and financial support.

Funding for students with existing undergraduate degrees

Students who have previously studied another undergraduate degree may be eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan for a second undergraduate degree in nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare. More information is available by reading the Council of Deans of Health page.

Further information

Download our fees and funding guide (PDF File 139 KB) which details the financial support now available to you.

The Funding Clinic on the Council of Deans of Health web pages is also a useful resource and will provide information tailored to your circumstances.

Students who have previously studied another undergraduate degree may be eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan for a second undergraduate degree in nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare. More information is available by reading the Council of Deans of Health page.

Possible fee changes

Current regulatory proposals suggest that institutions will be permitted to increase fee levels in line with inflation up to a specified fee cap. Specifically, LSBU may be permitted to increase its fees for new and existing Home and EU undergraduate students from 2017/18 onwards. The University reserves
the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any governmental guidance or decisions.


We offer students considerable financial help through scholarships, bursaries, charitable funds, loans and other financial support. Many of our scholarships are given as direct tuition fee discounts and we encourage all eligible students to apply for our Access Bursary. New home full-time undergraduate
students meeting eligibility criteria could receive a £1,000 cash bursary by joining us in the 2017/18 academic year. Find out more about all our scholarships and fee discounts for undergraduate students.

Case studies

Select a case study and read more about student experiences.

  • Courtney Francis, alumnus, BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing

    Courtney Francis, alumnus, BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing

    Courtney Francis studied BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing at LSBU and is now developing a successful career in this field

  • Jenny Ash, BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing

    Jenny Ash, BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing

    Third year BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing student Jenny Ash is on a quest. She’s doing everything she can to prepare herself for a career helping those with learning disabilities.

  • Nursing skills labs

    Nursing skills labs

    Our realistic wards and lifelike mannequins allow students, NHS trusts and businesses to practice skills in a safe environment supported by experts.

  • SimMan


    The School of Health and Social Care uses a variety of mannequins to help students learn clinical skills in a simulated care environment in laboratories.

Prepare to start

Adult Nursing LSBU - phase 1b

The following information is for applicants once you have been successful at interview and have been offered a place on your chosen course.

Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) and Declaration of character and conduct form

You are required to complete a declaration at your interview and declare any previous convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands. After the interview you will also be asked to complete a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) (formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau or CRB). Have a look at our DBS process for applicants and Declaration of Character and Conduct information to find out more.

To check the categories as identified by the DBS as being filtered and will therefore not be included in any criminal record certificate issued by the DBS look at the filtering rules for the criminal record check certificates. For more information please read our DBS FAQs.

To complete the DBS application and get your ID documents checked, please follow the steps below:

Step 1:

Please complete the online DBS application and ensure you refer to the corresponding DBS course title (PDF File 462 KB) when completing your application, to ensure we can track your application.

Organisation: LSBUHSC
Password: london2013

If you already have a DBS certificate and are part of the DBS update service, we need to see the hard copy of your DBS certificate. You’ll also need to e-mail the details below so that we can perform a status check on the update service website:

  • Your DBS certificate number
  • Your name as it is on the DBS certificate
  • Your date of birth

Step 2:

Once you have completed this process, please ensure you bring three accepted ID documents so we can verify your application. You can visit the Southwark Student Help Desk in the K2 building during working hours, Monday-Friday (9am-11am, 1pm-4pm). No appointment is needed. Please find the link above with a list of the appropriate ID.

Please note:
If you are unable to physically come to campus and show your three forms of required ID, you can use the Post Office which offers an identity document checking service for a fee of £10.50.

  • Take photocopies of your 3 items of ID documents and the 3 original documents with you.
  • The Post Office will stamp the form and the photocopies and give them back to you
  • Documents will then need to be scanned (including their post office receipt so that we know that it has gone through due process) and sent to

If you have further questions you can email us at

Occupational health

You need to complete an occupational health assessment once you have been given an offer on a health and social care course.

Download and print the following documents on vaccination guidelines and carefully read the guidance on the occupational health process:

You must take the GP vaccination and screening history form to your GP for them to complete, sign and stamp. This must be done prior to enrolment. This form also needs to be taken to the meeting with the occupational health nurse following enrolment in which the nurse can check immunisation status and confirm this for your placement. You should be aware that if you do not complete the occupational health process you will not be permitted on placement and this may jeopardise your continuation on your course.

Applicants who have met the conditions of an offer need to download and complete an online medical questionnaire. This will go to our current occupational health provider. Any delays in completing the medical questionnaire will delay enrolment. For further information please read our Occupational Health FAQs.

If you have any more questions you can email us at


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses.

Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.

Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment takes place before you start your course. On completing the process, new students formally join the University. Enrolment consists of two stages: online, and your face-to-face enrolment meeting. The online process is an online data gathering exercise that you will complete yourself, then you will be invited to your face-to-face enrolment meeting.

In September, applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer to study at LSBU will be sent details of induction, which is when they are welcomed to the University and their School. Induction helps you get the best out of your university experience, and makes sure you have all the tools to succeed in your studies.

Read more about Enrolment and Induction.


You will receive fixed holiday periods, which will not follow the normal University timetable. Further details will be available upon commencement of the course.

Practice placements

Practice placements are provided under our contract with NHS Trusts and other organisations. On some health and social care courses you may find local arrangements require you to attend practice placements outside the normal work hours (evening, nights, weekends and bank holiday).


If you are required to wear a uniform on placement and during some practical sessions in the skills laboratories then this will be provided along with a formal name badge.

ODP students will be required to wear theatre scrubs on placement, which will be supplied by the host Trust.  During practical sessions in the skills laboratories you will be required to wear LSBU scrubs which will be provided, along with a formal name badge. ODP students will receive one set of scrubs. No further items will be issued, and you'll have to pay for any additional or replacement uniform.


If you wish to change your address, change your personal details or withdraw your application, you must put this in writing to the Admissions Office who you can email at

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Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6100

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