Master class for learning disability nursing students

The School of Healthcare Sciences welcomed Mark Gray, a learning disability nurse and consultant in learning disability and sight loss to their ‘Learning Disability Community of Practice’ day.  Community of practice days enable undergraduate learning disability student nurses from year 1, 2 and 3 to learn together.  Mark Gray identified some fundamental facts, such as, approximately 50,000 people with learning disabilities who are known to services in the UK have visual impairment and an additional 15,000 are blind (Emerson & Robertson,2012). 

 The role of the learning disability nurse in working with individuals with sight loss was clearly articulated.  The nursing students learnt about the common eye condition identified in people with a learning disability: congenital and senile cataracts; macular deficit and degeneration; glaucoma, kerataconous; cortical visual impairment and diabetic retinopathy.  This created great discussion of how individuals with learning disability live with such conditions (that are sometimes not diagnosed).  For instance individuals that experience movement perception problems only see stationary objects, thus sign language can be very difficult to learn. Mark was able to relate all these issues to examples from learning disability nursing practice and share his knowledge and skills of how to implement reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of individuals in a person centred approach.  The students then considered the role of the learning disability nurse in enabling accessible eye care for individuals.  

They were also given the opportunity to consider and practice initial assessments and desensitisation programmes using objects of reference. To conclude Mark suggested that during a nursing assessment all nurses should lookout for any unusual head movement, ask the right questions to the right people, think of the adaptations required to communicate effectively.  Mark Gray was thanked for giving his time to the students and as Marissa (2ndyear learning disability student nurse) noted at the end of the day “I will without a doubt be keeping my eyes open and looking at people in a different way”.



Related documents:

Publication date: 21 June 2018