Thursday 10 September 2020
Learning Disability and Mental Health Nurse training on Island through the Open University has been endorsed by the NMC.
Recruitment and retention of staff can be challenging in the health and care environment. Having experienced these challenges, and the negative impact of staff turnover on the development of relationships with service users, Adult Disability Services knew that a formal on-island career progression pathway was needed.
The Institute of Health & Social Care Studies provides adult nurse training but does not run Learning Disability nurse or Mental Health nurse training.
Guernsey currently has 21 learning disability nurses employed throughout the service, of which only one was born in Guernsey. There are 4 others (also born in Guernsey) who now work in different parts of the organisation and all of these had to go off island for training and decided to return to Guernsey.
With the help of Jim Blair (a learning disability consultant in the UK) it was decided to investigate options for local staff to train and develop on Island.
Mandy Mackelworth, Service manager, Adult Disability Services said:
'Many of those studying Learning Disability or Mental Health nursing are mature students with families, so our primary aim was that student nurses did not have to go off island to study, or if they did it would only be for a short placement. The Open University are so used to teaching students remotely that their offer was a perfect solution for Guernsey.
Being able to grow our own Learning Disability and Mental Health nurses is a fantastic step forward for these service areas. Not only will we be able to cut down on expensive recruitment costs, with career development opportunities available, we will be able to retain more local staff in post.'
The Open University already ran general and Mental Health nurse training remotely in the UK but Learning Disability nursing was new for them too. Their Learning Disability nurse training was approved by the NMC in Milton Keynes in early March 2020. Having received endorsement from the NMC in the last few weeks, steps have been taken to finalise plans for the courses to run in Guernsey from February 2021.
Students will be recruited from staff already employed by ADS. They will spend 2 days a week in their current role as a support worker, 1 day study and 2 days as a student nurse on placement. The course will run over 4 years.
Mandy Mackelworth said:
'HSC has had 8 learning disability and mental health students on an access to nursing course with the Open University over the last 12 months who are interested in progressing. This has given time for people to become familiar with remote study with the Open University and to 'test out' how that works in practice before progressing to the nursing course.
There will be a robust application and recruitment process in partnership with service users and the Open University for 5 places (across Learning Disability and Mental Health) each year. There is already interest from more than 15 people who would like to apply for the 5 places for the course beginning in February 2021 so there is likely to be stiff competition for places!'