Celebrating FitzRoy nurses on International Nurses Day

12th May 2021

You’re involved in that person’s day to day, you know their family, you watch every milestone in their life. It’s more than just dealing with the problem, it’s all encompassing. It is a hard job, but it’s also a real privilege and an honour.

For International Nurses Day, we want to celebrate our incredible learning disability nurses at FitzRoy. Our nurses are skilled professionals, who have faced some of the toughest challenges during the pandemic while continuing to provide specialist healthcare for the people we support.

FitzRoy has two nursing care homes, The Pastures in Hales, Norfolk and Huws in Nottingham. We caught up with some of our learning disability nurses at Huws. Rachel, clinical lead nurse and deputy manager told us: “I have worked for FitzRoy for two years but I have been working with people with learning disabilities for 26 years in many different ways.

“I qualified as a learning disability nurse in 2004 – and it’s really quite a niche area to specialise in as a nurse.

“Being a nurse at FitzRoy can be challenging, a lot of it is medication led and we don’t get to do the fun bits like supporting our residents with activities and events outside the home. It can be tough, especially during the pandemic when the people we support couldn’t see their families, and when we had an outbreak and had lots of staff off with covid.

“Despite the challenges, I enjoy the job because you have to be a bit of a detective, the person you are supporting may be showing signs that they aren’t happy, and it’s your job to figure out why. In some areas of nursing you may not have that much variety in what you do, but working for somewhere like FitzRoy you are constantly doing such a wide range of things and you can really tailor your support to each individual.

“As a learning disability nurse, I love the contact I have with the people we support and being about to help people with varying needs. I also love the contact I have with the other members of staff and being able to support them to do their job as well as they can. I am always making sure that we are supporting the other nurses to do what they need to do to for their own CPD.

“Learning disability nursing is really flexible – it might not be the first path people think of when they think about nursing, but there’s so much variety to it.

Since being a learning disability nurse I have worked for the NHS, a children’s hospice and a charity. The job can take you wherever you want it to go.

Sarah is also a learning disability nurse at Huws, and began her role during the pandemic. She said: “I qualified as a learning disability nurses in 1999. Since then, I have seen such a change in learning disability services. I began my career when the transitioning from institutional care to services that were in the community was happening, but even then it took a while to get to where we are today.

“The staff at FitzRoy are just so fantastic and really care about the people we support. It has been hard over the past year – beginning my job at FitzRoy at the start of the pandemic has meant I have got to know everyone so well but I am also looking forward to seeing the people we support enjoying the activities they love again.

What is lovely about the job is being involved in someone’s whole life. Being a learning disability nurse is completely different to being a nurse.

“You’re involved in that person’s day to day, you know their family, you watch every milestone in their life. It’s more than just dealing with the problem, it’s all encompassing. It is a hard job, but it’s also a real privilege and an honour.”

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