A day in the life of: a TCS learning disabilities nurse

Sunday, May 12, 2019

For International Nurses Day 2019, we sat down with one of the wonderful community nurses in our learning disability and autism service, Jenny, to find out more about what she loves about her role and what an average day looks like for her!


How did you start your career?

Following finishing school, I attended college where I studied Human Biology, Theatre Studies and Sport Studies unsure of what I wanted to be in the future. I had a long conversation with my Nana, who was also a nurse in her time and decided this was something I wanted to explore as I have always been someone who likes to help people.


I began nursing in 2002, attending Teesside University to study mental health nursing.  After my first placement working with adults with learning disabilities I knew that this was the route I wanted to take and transitioned to learning disability nursing. I qualified in 2006 after taking a year out to have my Daughter Ella and have been working in this sector ever since.


Why did you choose learning disabilities to specialise in?

I chose learning disability nursing as I felt that, while you specialise in that field, you still work with individuals who have complex physical health needs and mental health needs, alongside their diagnosis of learning disabilities.


Why did you choose TCS?

After working in Continuing Healthcare for over 8 years I felt that I needed a new challenge and the chance to work more hands on with individuals so that I could improve their quality of life and increase their community participation. I had previously worked with the Head of Service and felt being part of a new service would be an exciting opportunity for me to be able to help the service develop and grow.


What are your key responsibilities in your role?

My main responsibilities include completing staff competencies, ensuring they are providing a high-quality service to the individuals we support. I work closely with the families, commissioners, social workers and other members of the multi-disciplinary team, providing open and transparent communication about the support we provide and the goals we want to achieve.  I also work closely with the staff and individuals in all my packages of care providing clinical support and working alongside the staff to coach them within their roles.


What does an average day look like for you?

I generally start my shift around 8am if I am completing staff competencies. During this time, I will meet the staff member at the client’s home to complete the competencies required to work in that specific package of care. 


Following this, I will go to visit other individuals receiving support from TCS. On an average day I visit around 2 – 3 clients, ensuring staff are delivering the best, high-quality care. I will speak to the staff around any issues they may have and attempt to resolve these in a timely manner, as well as spending time with the individual - looking at their activity planner to identify if they have any appointments/meetings I need to support them with. I also enjoy a game of Dobble from time to time with a particular individual!


Additionally, I often attend meetings, including clinical reviews, social reviews and mental health tribunals. I generally speak to the staff in most of the packages on a daily basis, ensuring they are clinically safe and that I am fully aware of the client’s physical and mental health, so that I can act quickly should any emergency reviews need arranging or if staff need clinical support.


What is your favourite bit of your job?

My favourite part of my job is seeing an individual’s quality of life improving through the work we have been involved in and helping staff provide a high-quality service. I also enjoy the relationships I have developed with the client, their families and staff teams. This is certainly one of my most rewarding roles in my career!


What are the main challenges you face?

I think the main challenge would be fitting everything in! At times, there is just not enough hours in the day to be able to do all the things you want to do, therefore have to prioritise what needs to be done first. Having a supportive team definitely helps this!


Find out more about our learning disabilities and autism division here, or if you’d like a day like Jenny’s then take a look at our latest vacancies here.