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60 SECONDS WITH…

60 seconds with...Sandie Morton-Nance, acute hospital liaison nurse

We talk to Sandie Morton-Nance, acute hospital liaison nurse at Broomfield Hospital in Mid Essex, who qualified as a learning disability nurse in 2001.

We talk to Sandie Morton-Nance, acute hospital liaison nurse at Broomfield Hospital in Mid Essex, who qualified as a learning disability nurse in 2001.

Why did you become a nurse?

It was the cliche that nursing is a vocation; from an early age I knew I wanted to be a nurse - even if I did not become a student until I reached 30.

Where did you train?

Anglian Ruskin University.

What was your first job in nursing?

An enrolled nurse and shift leader on a 12-bed residential ward in a small hospital. The patients were older, frail women with varying levels of learning disabilities with physical and sensory impairments. I was a designated named nurse, and was responsible for the continuing care of four women.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I can be overly “mumsy”. This has benefits when supporting a person who is frightened and anxious in hospital but I have to be mindful not to be overprotective, which can be disempowering as it may exacerbate learnt helplessness.

Whom have you learnt most from in your nursing career?

Working closely with people with learning disabilities has to be first.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Learning disabilities nursing has been evolving, with the introduction of hospital liaison nurses, and an emphasis on health facilitation. I would advise gaining experience in a facilitative role and awareness of medical-surgical nursing, because many people with learning disabilities have complex physical problems.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

I have a very satisfying career that is deeply purposeful and meaningful. I try to make small but significant differences for people with learning disabilities.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Holding my two daughters from birth and watching them both grow and develop into beautiful young women.

Remain proud of learning disabilities nursing and keep asserting its place among the other branches

What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

Learning disabilities nursing is going through a difficult phase. Nursing in this area is not viewed as being very glamorous. There have been cuts to training and where training is offered uptake is low. It is predicted that the learning disability population is growing and many professionals lack understanding of the needs of this group. We must embrace the role as lead specialists, remain proud of the profession and keep asserting its place among all other branches.

Which job would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?

Teaching or occupational therapy.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

Having worked in integrated teams, I would support a national IT system with both social and health records.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Spending time outside in the garden, relaxing with my family, friends and Springer Spaniels, and enjoying good food.

If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?

Professor Bob Gates, a learning disabilities expert. I listened to him at a conference and found him so inspiring.

Readers' comments (1)

  • I agree LDN is great but nowadays no-values it! there is a much need for LDN as more and more people are having disabilities like autism.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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