Why is the course name such a mouthful I hear you ask?

Well, it has every right to be. The Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work (Integrated Practice) programme will see you graduate with TWO qualifications instead of one. Students completing this course will qualify to practise as both a learning disabilities nurse and a social worker – how many degrees can boast that?

I spoke to recent graduate, Paige, who was nominated to represent the University of Salford at the Houses of Parliament for Learning Disability Week 2019. Read on to find out her experience at Salford and what she’s up to now!

What course did you study, and why did you choose Salford?

I studied Integrated Practice. I chose Salford because it is one of the three universities in the UK that deliver this joint course – and you graduate with one degree but two qualifications.

How did your time at university set you up for a career, and what are you doing now?

I went on six practice placements which equipped me with lots of experience, as well as opening my eyes to what kind of job opportunities would be available once I had qualified. My final placement was with the Salford Royal Foundation Trust. I worked alongside the Joint Adults Learning Disabilities Team, who work with people from the age of 18 with learning disabilities. Throughout my time with the team, I learnt a lot of skills I use in my everyday practice now. 

You had to complete 100 days in practice, and at the end of my placement the manager actually offered me a temporary contact. I then went on to apply for a permanent job where I was successful and secured a permanent position.

I have gone on to develop nursing and social work skills in my everyday practice working alongside social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, art therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. 

I still work on this team as a community nurse and I really love what I do. 

I understand you went to parliament to represent the University of Salford for Learning Disability Week 2019, how did you get the opportunity?

I was nominated by my team manager to go to parliament, this was for a celebration for the centenary. The event was open to learning disabilities nurses based all over the UK. Nurses did have to be nominated to go; I think there was about 150 people there.  This was for the celebration of the cenetary of Learning Disabilities Nursing as a profession.

Photo from event

What did it involve? 

On arrival we had canapés, there were talks by two different organisations, Dance Syndrome who are based in Greater Manchester and Books and Beyond. Both are charities run by families of people with learning disabilities. 

There were also nurses sharing short stories about what inspired them to become a learning disabilities nurse or people that had made a big difference to their practice. 

Did you take part in any of the activities around campus for Learning Disability Week?  If so, which ones?

I took part in the event on Thursday, Bridge College came and did a sing and sign session. This is also when the awards were presented by the Deputy Chief Nurse. 

What’s one thing you have learned from Learning Disability Week?

I learned how much a learning disabilities nurse means to the people we support, some of the client group also spoke at the event in London and they were able to share how much of an impact we have on their lives.

Thank you Paige for taking the time to talk to me! If your goal is to work in such a rewarding sector, you can take a look at the BSc Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work (Integrated Practice) programme on our website.