All nursing students should have strengthened learning disability education say education experts in a report released today.
Learning Disabilities-Meeting the Educational Needs of Nursing Students, co-authored by the Learning Disabilities and Nursing Academic Network (LIDNAN) and the Council of Deans for Health, addressed the specific questions of how to promote learning disability competence in other fields of nursing education.
Deans and senior staff of higher education institutes that are members of the Council of Deans for Health took part in a survey to identify barriers in delivering learning disability education across all nursing programmes. The main barriers identified was that there are gaps in training and awareness of healthcare staff.
It recommended that all universities who deliver nurse education have a link lecturer for learning disabilities. It also recommended that people with learning disabilities and their carers are involved in all aspects of curriculum design.
Sue Beacock, senior lecturer of learning disabilities at the University of Hull, said: 'This report will support colleagues and policy makers to better understand current challenges and to meet the growing need for all health and social care staff to know how to work with and care for people with a learning disability.'
Professor Dame Jessica Corner, chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said: 'Our members play a crucial role in educating students to work with people with learning disabilities across all health settings and this report highlights ways in which universities can ensure learning disabilities is reflected in all nursing courses.'
The report highlights that although the number of people with learning disabilities in increasing, the number of learning disability nurses are decreasing with many of them reaching retirement in the near future. Concern was also raised about the limited knowledge among general healthcare and social care staff have of how to work with people with learning disabilities and the lack of training in this area. The report suggests that the role of the learning disability nurses and how they support people should feature in the education of all nurses.