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A Day in the Life of a Nursing Assistant Practitioner in the LD team

A day in the life of Rob, LD Nursing Assistant Practitioner at NCH&C

Find out what it’s like to work in Learning Disability Nursing at NCH&C.

We spoke to Rob, one of our Nursing Assistant Practitioners, about what it’s like to be part of the Learning Disability (LD) Nursing team.

What team do you sit on, and what does this team do?

I’ve worked in the City Community Learning Disabilities Team (CLDT) for five and a half years. The team is an integrated service, meaning that NCH&C works alongside Norfolk County Council to form the CLDT. This team is an adult service for clients over the age of 18, and the team is in place to provide both social and health support to clients with a learning disability.

What is your job role? Sum up what you do in just a few sentences?

My job role is Nursing Assistant Practitioner, and in my role I work within the nursing team. I also work with the wider multi-disciplinary team including both health and social care colleagues, as well as the multi-agency working consisting of working with care providers, health providers and the clients family.

What sort of activities do you do day-to-day?

I support with health appointments, provide health advice, mental health monitoring, and many other varied and interesting roles. I am presently specialising in male sexual health, relationships, and generalised male health. I have worked within sexual health in the past and this experience has been pertinent to the support I am providing to male clients when I discuss sex and relationships, as well as the importance of regular testicular checking and how this is done. Alongside this I have been involved in providing SPOKE days for TNAs within the trust. I am an Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) link and recently worked as part of the COVID working group.

What are the highlights of your job?

The highlights of my role include working within a dedicated and closely linked team. We all strive for the same outcomes and that means that we are all providing the best service we can to our clients. The main highlight for me is working face to face with clients. It makes me so pleased when I see a case through from the referral stage to discharge, and to see what positive outcomes have been met for the client. Another highlight it how creative and adaptive working in Learning Disabilities is. There are many different levels of LD, and case by case there are different needs to be met, including reasonable adjustments such as communication, how the primary services can facilitate the best environment for the client and how needs can be met for the client. The client is always at the centre of every case I work with and the knowledge that I am making a difference within my role is satisfying. I feel the same passion today as I did back when I started in this role.

How did you get into your role?

I have worked in varied roles prior to joining the LD team. I started out working on a medium forensic secure unit prior to working in acute nursing. It was during my time in acute that my skills developed and I found my confidence grow. I developed a taste for education, as well as educating and sharing my knowledge with new staff. I also worked in mental health for a brief period before spending some time as a community phlebotomist for NCHC. A Healthcare Assistant role within LD was advertised, and I knew that this was something I wanted to do. I had an interest in LD due to patients I had worked with over the years and this was an opportunity to work in the community and learn and develop myself. Since joining I have completed the Foundation Degree in Health and the apprenticeship, and the next step will be to train as an LD nurse.

How has your role changed over the last two years due to the pandemic?

My role changed in many ways during the pandemic. My team are based at County Hall in Norwich, and during lockdown we no longer had access to our office to work as a team. We have worked together using Teams and telephone calls. There were many adaptations to be made both within my role and within the service. At the start of lockdown the work was mostly taking place over the telephone, and ensuring our clients remained supported and in contact with our service. It was vital to ensure that clients were not presenting with social isolation. Additionally the impact on our client group included service closures during lockdown as well as clients restricted on where they could go such as to the city or eating out with carers. My role with my clients was to be that social interaction and to monitor if the client was feeling ok, or if they needed support with anything that I could then pass on to my colleagues if this was outside my remit.

As the IPAC link within the team I was also overseeing provision of PPE to my health colleagues, as well as taking part in the Learning Disabilities COVID Working Group to design pre-visit triage forms and visit pathways. I was also point of contact for any queries relating to COVID-19 and liaised with IPAC to provide information to my team.

As restrictions started to lift, it was important to be back out there visiting clients, supporting with health appointments, and providing the clients with the opportunity to discuss how the pandemic had impacted on them both mentally and physically. The effects are still being felt out there and I think it is vital in my role to both listen and to provide empathy and a listening ear while the client talks about how they have felt and what has changed for them.

Anything else you’d like to add or talk about?

Working within the Learning Disabilities service is one of the most rewarding roles I have ever had, and this is down to great leadership and very supportive colleagues. I would recommend LD nursing to anybody looking for a career within the NHS. I took the long way round to reaching where I am today, but I know that I am bringing my experience and knowledge to the role, and at the same time I am learning from my clients, the carers and family members and my team every day.