A day as a learning disability nurse

Your day starts with a visit to a young man with learning disabilities in his home. Your job is to help him better understand his physical and mental health needs so he can live an independent and healthy life . You also spend time with his family and carers. It is important they also know how everyone needs to work together and know what each other is doing. Later that morning, you are talking to other health and care staff and help them to communicate better with people with learning disabilities showing challenging behaviour.

In the afternoon, you visit a woman who might be admitted into hospital. She has mental health needs and without support, it will be unsafe for her to remain in the community. You talk to your fellow healthcare professionals about offering suitable support so she can stay at home and safely recover with her friends and family.

Does this sound like you?

You're a passionate and believe in equal rights for those with learning disabilities. You always keep the interests of the person you are working with at the heart of what you do. You're a good communicator, allowing you to help others in communicating with people with learning disabilities. You work well as part of team but are also able to make decisions on your own. You like to work with people and work well in high-pressure situations.

What's next after GCSE?

You'll need to do a degree level qualification to be a nurse so will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs (typically including English language or literature and a science subject) at grades 5/4 (C) or above or equivalent level 2 qualification, then go on to take at least two A levels (eg including a subject like human biology, psychology or sociology) or equivalent level 3 qualification.

What's next after A level and beyond?

After A levels, you'll need to go to university to do an approved full-time degree in nursing or apply for a nursing degree apprenticeship. For their full-time degrees, some universities may ask for three A levels and have specific subject requirements, so make sure you check with the uni you're interested in directly. Nursing degree apprenticeships are available in some parts of the country and you'll usually need the same level of GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications.