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Anna Page says "No other branch of nursing is as holistic and encompassing as learning disabilities nursing."

My name is Anna Page and I’m currently the Health Team Manager of the Community Learning Disability Team in Wrexham. I started my Nurse training back in 2003 and qualified in 2006, which means I’ve been in Nursing for 21 years this year. I initially completed a diploma at Chester University and went to Bangor University in 2013 to undertake my degree.

I’d not had much experience of working with people with learning disabilities prior to enrolling on the course. In fact, I’d not had much experience of anything in the healthcare field before I applied. I worked part time in Sainsbury’s and I’d dropped out of 6th form after my AS levels.

I’d always known I wanted to work with people and help them in some kind of way but at the tender age of 19, I wasn’t sure what path to take to achieve this. I decided to study Health and Social Care at College and my peers all seemed to have very clear goals and aspirations around becoming qualified nurses. This inspired me to look into nursing as a career and I realised my talent for communication (talking too much they used to call it at school) might, for once, be a help rather than a hindrance.

I applied for learning disability nursing and mental health nursing in 2022. I was offered a place on both courses, I’m still not totally sure why I chose learning disabilities but something in my gut told me that I should follow that path, and 21 years later, I’m still very glad I did and I truly believe it was fate/destiny/astral influence- or whatever you’d like to call it.

I started learning disabilities nursing as a blank slate, I had no expectations or real insight into what it would be like but after just a few months, I knew that there was no other branch of nursing that was as holistic and encompassing as learning disabilities nursing.  The person remains at the centre of every process and plan made. Uniquely, we have the opportunity to really see the impact we make to people’s lives as a whole. We are lucky enough to assist people to achieve their full potential by supporting physical and mental health, reducing barriers to independence and to lead a meaningful and fulfilled life. The job satisfaction of being an integral part of this process, is like no other.

The people we work with are some of the most vulnerable members of society-it’s an honour to be a part of their journey through life and be part of a team of people who ensure that safety, wellbeing and fulfilment is experienced by every person we support. This isn’t always easy and barriers often have to be overcome, but that’s what makes every day different in learning disabilities nursing.

I don’t think that there’s a specific characteristic formula that makes a ‘good’ learning disability nurse, however, having a passion for listening, wanting equality for all and a good sense of humour is a must.

 I have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work in a variety of services over the years from working with the Police, Secure Hospitals and Continuing Health care Teams. It’s a huge passion of mine to ensure everyone knows how multi-skilled Learning disability nurses are and how the skills we develop are so transferrable to a wide range of roles and responsibilities. The Learning disability nursing role is so multi-faceted, you will learn skills without even realising.  

Learning disability nursing won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s fine, but if someone has an interest or feels drawn to it they should explore it further. It could just be your dream career!

Find out more about learning disability nursing.