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Also Known As
Intellectual Disability nurses tend to the needs of those with learning disabilities, working in either residential or community services. They care for the physical, emotional and mental needs of their clients. They promote independence in the clients' lives by enabling them to reach their full potential.
As an intellectual disability nurse you will improve the self-esteem and interaction of clients, enabling them to develop successfully by introducing a purpose to their life. You will also promote their emotional, physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual needs. You will encourage independence for those who are living in various settings, for example, community-based, residential, and family-based. Intellectual disability nursing provides a holistic approach to care, carried out in a therapeutic yet homely atmosphere.
The challenge of the intellectual disability nurse is to identify the clients' abilities and to enable them to overcome/cope with their disabilities, thereby improving their quality of life. The intellectual disability nurse is involved in the day-to-day living of the individual's needs, including a wide range of activities: social, recreational, physical, arts, crafts, drama, to mention but a few. The work of the intellectual disability nurse involves using these activities as a therapeutic tool.
In a day's work, the intellectual disability nurse could be involved in a whole range of caring interventions, from developing a programme to promote independence in feeding to caring for a very sick client confined to bed; and in between might go horse riding, swimming, or go shopping, assisting the client negotiate public transport, understand money, or choose an outfit. In the field of intellectual disability nursing, you will be working with people of all ages and abilities assessing patient's behaviour and psychological needs. Many clients will live at home and visit service centres daily; nurses will visit others at home. Some will require support only from time to time. Some will require continuous support in a supervised residential setting.
Nurses (RNID) work in a wide range of areas such as:
home based support and care
day care including assessments
early intervention, pre-school and special education
residential and respite care
work in group homes
vocational training, sheltered and supported employment
palliative and hospice type care
You will work along side all disciplines of the interdisciplinary team, including: physiotherapists, general practitioners, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, psychical therapists, alternative/complimentary therapists, and many others.
Regardless of which area of the service the nurse works in, there is an enormous opportunity to achieve job satisfaction and fulfilment. Nurses in intellectual disability can really make a difference, working on the front line of this challenging, yet fulfilling career.
Personal Qualities and Skills
You need to be self aware and very interested in people's behaviour. The ability to remain non-judgemental and objective is an important aspect of the role. You will need to be sensitive and tolerant when caring for clients and their families.
It challenges you and will touch your emotions, therefore you need to have the ability to deal with stressful situation and remain calm and composed.
It is important to have excellent communication: to be perceptive of verbal communication, body language and sensitivity.
Pay and Opportunities
Hospitals, community welfare, the public and voluntary services are the main areas of work. The HSE is the main employer. Working in prisons or educational facilities is also an option.
For salary scales see www.publicjobs.ie.
Entry Routes and Training
The B.Sc. in Nursing, Level 8, was developed to prepare nurses for working the modern health care service. Pre-Registration/Degree Courses in General Nursing (RGN), Psychiatric Nursing (RPN) and Intellectual Disability Nursing (RMHN) are at Degree level. They take place in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in association with the main Healthcare Agencies (Hospitals/Clinical Sites).
The purpose of the Pre-Registration/Degree Programmes is to ensure that the student is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to practise as a competent and professional nurse.
For details of the specific programmes and grants/fees/conditions consult the Higher Education Institutions' literature. Contact the Higher Education Institutions/ Healthcare Agencies.
Minimum Education Requirements
Applicants must meet both An Bord Altranais and the Higher Education Institutions' minimum education requirements.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for information on course qualifications.
An applicant using the Standard Code who is not presenting with the Leaving Certificate Examination minimum education requirements must have obtained equivalent education qualifications. Enquiries should be addressed to the Admissions Offices of the HEIs.
Nursing is a demanding profession, both physically and emotionally. Successful applicants must be of good mental and physical health and free from any defect or abnormality, which would interfere with the efficient performance of their role as nurses.
These may include references, Garda Clearance/Garda Clearance Enquiry Forms etc. as determined by a HEI/Healthcare Agency. Applicants will be required to complete a medical assessment and undergo a vaccination programme.
Mature applicants who are 23 years of age or over on 1st January of the year of application and who do not have, or do not expect to have the Education entry requirements. Such applicants will be required to undergo an assessment process and interview to be considered. For details, see 'Nursing A Career for You', available from the Nursing Careers Centre.
Contact your local Intreo Centre or Employment Services office for Career Guidance, planning and support that will help you make informed decisions about the best career direction for you.
- Nursing a Career for You, Pre-Registration/Degree Programmes in Nursing
Nursing Careers Centre (NCC)
Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
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