Siân Lewis from Blackwood graduated in 2008 from the Learning Disabilities nursing degree and from the MSc Professional Practice in 2013. She is a team manager within a child and adolescent learning disability service.
"A year after qualifying, I wanted to progress my learning further by undertaking an postgraduate course. USW was the obvious choice as I already had links with the teaching staff and had some awareness of what was on offer in terms of an MSc in my field of nursing.
The MSc was very helpful and equipped me to further enhance myself as a professional. Having an MSc degree was part of the application criteria for my current role, and having obtained this put me in a strong position.
My favourite module was the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) module. Most of my career has involved supporting people who have a diagnosis of ASD and learning disability and this module was excellent in informing my evidence-based practice.
One of the highlights of the course was having the opportunity to really explore an area of practice. For me, this was transition from child to adult services. It was great to develop my knowledge base and the tools to do this.
Finally, the course has also helped me to fulfil a long-standing ambition. I have always wanted to develop a journal for publication and am now in the process of doing so. The degree really helped to equip me to be able to do this.
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."