My LD experience timeline
As a student nurse I remember asking for experience with LD individuals, I was told I was on an adult nursing course not an LD course. I sought my own experience through a local voluntary group.
As a newly qualified nurse I asked for training with LD related elements of care, I was told I worked on a rehab ward and not an LD ward. I sought my own training through an organisation nearby.
As a first year nurse I voiced my fear of not having the right training or awareness of Learning Difficulty specific areas. I was informed ‘our area does not do those sort of patients.’
As a second year post-registration nurse I observed in horror the way in which an LD individual was treated. The horror being at the difference in approach from the moment the referral came through, the automatic assumption of extra staff being needed, the opinion of this person being almost not entitled to a bed, the opinionated uninformed misplaced and somewhat ignorant chit chat it caused throughout the whole building.
As a wiser, braver, more confident and more aware third year post-registration nurse I recently had the honour of meeting and caring for a gentleman whom had the ‘label’ of ‘Learning Disability’ attached to his amazing character. Was he as demanding as the patient whom thought I was her personal slave? No. Was this gentleman as rude as the patient who stated he had paid his taxes thus had the right to whistle me like a dog? No. Did I have to take a colleague when I went to see him like the man who felt the right to touch my bum each time I went near? No.
This gentleman was polite, dignified, honest, genuine, thankful, patient and modest but overall he was an amazing guy; funny, clever, witty, full of character and charming with it. Like I say, a pleasure and honour to nurse. Did I need any of the training I had requested? No. My compassionate and caring nature sufficed. My concern now? What about the ones denied the training who do not hold these characteristics?
By Maria Davison