Sometimes you just have to stand up and be counted. As learning disability nurses we have a long tradition of doing this; in fact some people would lay it as a criticism at our door, in that we campaign to make things better for the public we serve rather than championing our rights, identity, and professional profile.
At PC13 we sold you sticks of Blackpool rock, with Positive Choices written all the way through it; Lots of us joked that if you chopped our arm off then it would say LD nursing right through to our core; so does learning disability nursing define you or do you define it? A really hard question to answer and one I hope none of the academics reading this ever set you as an assessed piece of work.
So why the three clip art images? Well there should be three names attached to them: Nico, Thomas and LB. Some of you will have heard me talk before about the ultimate role of the learning disability nurse is to both represent and re-present services to people who have a learning disability and people who have a learning disability to services; this has never been more needed than now. Three lives cut short, and three sets of families grieving, three sets of extended communities who have the wrong image of what professional nursing support for people with a learning disability is all about. This is wrong, it shouldn’t happen and we have to turn this around.
So to answer my own question: I don’t define learning disability nursing, neither does it define me, but the values of learning disability nursing and our mantra of together we are better do define what I do, and I know it does you too.
Enjoy #PC15 and don’t forget these three names. Nico, Thomas & LB