Siân works with young people with learning disabilities

Sian Lewis, LD nursing degree and MSc Professional Practice

Siân Lewis from Blackwood graduated in 2008 from the Learning Disabilities Nursing degree and went on to study the MSc Professional Practice (Learning Disabilities). She is now  team manager within a child and adolescent learning disability service. 

"During my undergraduate nurse training, the placements that resonated with me the most were the ones at a medium-secure facility and a community learning disability team. 

I learnt a lot about how the private sector can provide healthcare to people with learning disabilities who may have a forensic history. This placement reinforced the importance of a non-judgemental and person-centred approach. 

I was lucky in that I returned to the same community learning disability team throughout the three years of my training. I loved my placement with the team and I knew then that community nursing was what I wanted to do when I qualified.  

In University, I found the practical sessions most useful. Amongst other things we learnt about counselling skills, clinical supervision and assessment skills. Although this involved some role-play, it was the best way to practice skills that I have gone on to use on a regular basis in practice. 

When we branched off into our learning disability cohort, I found the sessions to be more tailored to what I was interested in learning about. The sessions were more informal and the group was a lot smaller. I felt much more confident to engage in these and felt encouraged to be part of discussions. This was helpful for me as I was very shy.

About my job

People are always surprised to hear that I am a nurse and I don’t work in a general hospital! I am based in an office and that the majority of our work is about supporting children and young people and their families around difficult/ challenging behaviour rather than physical health needs.

I love that my job affords me the opportunity to have a strategic view on the service that we offer and how it fits into the wider services of the health board, and also the opportunity to undertake clinical work. 

The team I work with are very passionate about delivering a good service to children and young people with learning disabilities and I feel proud to be a learning disability nurse.

Nursing is a great profession as you can make a real difference to the people you support.

I believe that learning disability nurses are very skilled, holistic practitioners. What’s more, there is scope to develop yourself further as a nurse into a range of different roles within the private sector, NHS, and education sector."