Wales-first for student nurses at USW

Student nurses at USW are the first at uni in Wales to become Learning Disability Champions. Neil Gibson, December 2018

The student nurses at USW who have pledge to become Learning Disability Champions


DOZENS of student nurses at the University of South Wales (USW) have learned how to help patients with learning disabilities access vital healthcare services.

During a special training event at USW, 62 students – who specialise in adult, mental health and child nursing - pledged to become Learning Disability Champions. USW’s School of Care Sciences is the first in Wales to run this training for all fields of nursing, with plans in place to repeat the course on a quarterly basis.

In sessions organised by nursing and midwifery lecturer Stacey Rees, the students were given training by USW specialists and practitioners from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board

They were supported by the Paul Ridd Foundation, which was created to help people with a learning disability, and their families and carers, when accessing secondary health care.

The training included Signalong, details about the ‘Hello My Name Is…’ campaign – which urges health workers to address patients by their names to ensure care is personalised - discussion around the 1000 Lives Care Bundle for people with learning disabilities, and practical tools for students to use when supporting and providing healthcare to people with learning disabilities.

“The health inequalities that people with learning disabilities face are heavily evidenced, and some of these inequalities are due to the barriers in accessing healthcare,” Stacey said:

“According to Mencap, 23% of healthcare professionals have never attended specific learning disability training, while 66% said they wanted more training. About 47% of hospitals do not include information on learning disability in induction training for clinical staff.”

Stacey added that the health needs of people with learning disabilities is going to be one of the main priorities for the NHS in reducing inequalities and premature mortality.

“We want our students to be able to make a difference when they join the profession and make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families,” she said.

Dr Nicky Genders, who is Head of USW’s School of Care Sciences, added: “We are pleased to be working with the Paul Ridd Foundation to raise awareness of learning disability.

“The founders of the charity hold Honorary Fellowships with the university and continue to contribute to the work of the school of Care Sciences.”

Follow #USWLDChamp for more details.

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