15 June 2020
Learning disabilities student nurse shares passion for role
"I love working with people with learning disabilities.
The connection you make and it's meaning to the people you are
connected with can't be rivalled. It's this very connection that
can take you along some wonderful journeys with the people you
support and their families. You can literally be a part of someone
blossoming into the person they can be."
Those are the thoughts of Learning Disability Student Nurse,
Rachel Trollope, who works for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health
Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust. She is sharing her journey into
learning disability nursing during Learning Disabilities Week
(Monday 15th - Sunday 21st June).
After 20 years of working in health and social care and
education, Rachel decided it was time for a change. She questioned
the real, human value of her actions on a day-to-day basis and says
she felt what she was doing didn't make enough of a difference to
really matter on an individual level. This is what led her to
rethink her career and she decided to retrain as a Learning
Rachel said: "My first job at 16 was working as a Care Support
Worker for adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities,
people I knew from my childhood who had lived at the long-stay
hospital where my mum worked as a Learning Disabilities Nurse,
until its closure. That job was all about the human touch and
deeper connection gained from really understanding a person. In 20
years of working I'd never found another job to rival this feeling,
up until now.
"Nothing focuses your attention on an issue like having a loved
one affected by it. My nephew, who sadly passed away at just six
years old was born deaf and blind with Cerebral Palsy. To me, he
was the most beautiful person in the world and I wouldn't have
changed a single second of his life. He gave so much joy and love
to us. But with a lack of skilled and trained professionals, it
wasn't always easy and there weren't always rainbows and fluffy
Rachel, who works at the Trust's bespoke care unit for people
with complex learning disabilities at Green Lane Hospital in
Devizes, Wiltshire, is encouraging more people to consider a career
as a learning disabilities nurse.
She said: "There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions
about people with learning disabilities. The only way to make a
change is to be the change that you want to see and become its
champion. If you're someone that wants to make a real difference to
society, or to the lives of people with learning disabilities then
what better way to do it than this? If you're that person with
genuine empathy, the drive to make positive, lasting changes and
the passion to help people with learning disabilities find their
voice and to be heard, then Learning Disability Nursing fits the
shape of that space, and it needs you."
Julie Kerry, Director of Nursing at Avon and Wiltshire Mental
Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: "A career in learning
disability nursing can be hugely rewarding. Our learning disability
nurses work with real passion and dedication to enrich the lives of
our learning disabilities patients and enable them to reach their
full potential to lead active, independent and healthy lives. I'd
encourage anyone who might be considering learning disability
nursing as a career to find out more and start their journey into
this hugely satisfying and fulfilling role."
To find out more about a career in Learning Disability Nursing