Our nursing courses provide the opportunity to start incredibly rewarding careers, helping those who need support and assistance when they are at their most vulnerable. With different specialisms to choose from, Jodie Winkler explains how she decided that Learning Disability Nursing was her ideal choice; “I’d always liked caring for people and helping others,” says Jodie.
Nursing seemed like the ideal career for me, but it wasn’t until I looked into applying for nursing courses that I discovered Learning Disability Nursing. After a bit of research, I fell in love with the field.
One of the findings that inspired Jodie to enter the field was the shocking discovery that those with a learning disability are much more likely to die early than those who don’t. “Before I started the course, I was unaware of the health inequalities faced by those with learning disabilities,” says Jodie. “I’m halfway through it now, and I can’t wait to qualify so I can do something about this injustice.”
Before starting her degree, Jodie had been working at a digital marketing agency, but she doesn’t regret returning to education to change her career direction. “I’m really enjoying my degree,” she says. “The lecturers on the Learning Disability Nursing degree are incredibly supportive, and truly inspiring,” she says. “Their passion is contagious, and their teaching is powerful.”
In particular, Jodie has enjoyed the variety of placements that she has undertaken as part of the course. These have included working at an assessment and treatment unit for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues, a school for children with autism, and a spell on a respiratory ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
“Each placement requires you to take on a different role,’ says Jodie. “The key is always to be an advocate for service users and making sure their needs are listened to. It’s also important to support them.”
As a student nurse, you won’t know all the answers, but listening and offering support can make all the difference.
Her varied placement experiences have taught Jodie that each service user is different, and they need to be treated as such. “There’s no one size fits all solution,” she says. “Care needs to be person-centred and holistic in order for it to be effective.”
In the future, Jodie hopes to secure a role in the community, supporting people with learning disabilities and educating other healthcare professionals on the importance of equality and accessibility. She’s in no doubt that she’s in a great position to start her career. “Not only have I been well trained at LSBU thanks to great staff and facilities like the clinical skills labs,” she says, “but the lecturers have great contacts and networks too. It’s a great place to start.”