To support Learning Disability Week, we want to shine a light on one of our incredible Learning Disability Nurses, Joscelyn. Today, Joscelyn tells us about her role as a learning disability nurse at Thornbury Community Services (TCS), the exceptional care and support she delivers to one of our clients, Liam and her future career aspirations with TCS.
*Name has been changed for data protection
A day in my life as a community learning disability nurse
My shift usually begins with a handover with the nurse who was caring for Liam during the night. Together, we go through his medication, any changes to his care during the night and have a quick discussion of how the nurse’s shift went. Once we’ve gone through the handover, the night team will finish for the day, and the day staff will begin their shifts.
Whilst Liam is sleeping, the team create a plan for the day, which includes fun activities and potentially a visit to the local community. After Liam has woken up, we will firstly prompt him to brush his teeth, have a shower and take his medication before we take him through the plan for the day.
Liam’s communication skills have come on leaps and bounds during his time with TCS. He can go through the daily plan and say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to let us know if he is happy with the activities planned.
At breakfast, Liam tells us what he would like to eat, and we will prep his meal whilst listening to songs of his choice. Liam loves his music and is fascinated by musicians and their careers.
Time for a disco
After breakfast, Liam’s love of music comes to life and it’s time for us to have a fun disco with the team. Liam chooses the songs he wants at his disco and a range of items to bring along, such as his inflated guitar and a small handheld drum which he adores.
Let’s play Catchphrase!
After our fun disco, it’s time for food and a break from boogying. We always offer Liam a snack and a drink to keep him hydrated and energised throughout the day. We also play a game of Liam’s choice which is usually Catchphrase. He will ask us to draw pictures of well-known locations on paper, but we’re not allowed to say the names of the places. For example, if he asks us to draw the city London, we will draw a picture of Big Ben!
The games usually take us to lunchtime. Liam will tell us what he would like for his lunch. As we make his food, we will pop on some music of his choice whilst he watches us cook.
We always give Liam the opportunity to ask for space or change the plans for the day in case he wants to have a video call with a family member, have a trip into the community or do another fun activity, one of his favourites is blowing bubbles in the garden. It’s important that we give him this opportunity to help him grow his confidence and decision-making skills.
Preparing the night staff
As my shift for the day is finishing, I will prepare the handover for the night staff; so they are aware of any changes and updates about Liam and his care. Once I’ve gone through the handover with the night nurse. It’s time for me to head home for the day.
What is your biggest achievement working with Liam?
My biggest achievement has been supporting him in growing his confidence and communication skills. Liam can communicate to tell us how is feeling and whether he would like to do any specific activity, such as facetime a family member. He has also learnt to use signs as a method of communication.
Liam has developed the confidence to ask questions about the songs we listen to during his discos. He loves to ask me questions about the artists and their music, such as, has Tinie Tempah done a mashup with Abba?
He likes it when we use Google on our phones to find the correct answers to these questions. We always ask him the next day if he remembers the answers as he enjoys testing his memory and showcasing his cleverness. We always tell him how clever he is, which he loves to hear.
It’s incredible to see how far Liam has come in trusting me. We’re also now at the stage where he feels comfortable being taken to new places in the community. Previously there were three specific locations he would only visit, but recently he has picked two new places he enjoys visiting.
Before his development, he wouldn’t feel comfortable around phones due to their unpredictable noises. He wouldn’t ask questions and spent lots of time in his bedroom.
Liam can clean himself regularly and is happy for us to do regular health checks, such as blood pressure monitoring and weight checks. This trust has been built over time and continues to grow.
What are the Liam's biggest goals?
Our biggest focus with Liam is building relationships, especially with other members of the team, which is something we're continuously working on together. With his confidence growing and his communication skills developing, the relationships he is building are becoming stronger.
I think a big goal for Liam is to visit a funfair one day. He’s fascinated by the engineering aspect of the equipment at funfairs, such as the speakers and large fans. If we take him to a funfair, I think he would be so focused on analysing the equipment and figuring out how it works; that he would completely forget about all the fun rides he could go on!
Why did you become a learning disability nurse?
I’ve been working in the healthcare industry for nine years, which has been incredible. I first started my career in healthcare as a support worker at the age of 19. I’ve always wanted to progress further in my career and take on more responsibility. So, I became a learning disability nurse.
What goal would you like to achieve in your learning disability nurse career?
When I was younger, a passion of mine was to find work where I could provide care and support to people with challenging behaviours.
Starting my career in healthcare at the age of 19 allowed me to do this and learn many skills and grow my knowledge. Now that I have qualified as a learning disability nurse, I would like to continue my career with TCS and progress to a senior nurse role as a clinical lead in the future.
Working as a clinical lead will allow me to play a vital role in our clients' lives by overseeing the care and support they receive whilst helping them reach their full potential and achieve their personal goals and aspirations.
This week we will be sharing a range of content on our social media channels and website to support Learning Disability Week. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you are interested in joining the team at Thornbury Community Services, register with us using the form below. Or contact our team on 0333 323 3762