The Foundation was delighted to welcome 38 Learning Disability Nurses onto our programme designed to meet their leadership needs. All participants completed the programme in March 2019 and will attend their Celebration Event and Presentation of Certificates in November 2019.

Cumbrian nurse Rebecca Reid is one of 40 in the country chosen to pioneer a new national leadership course.

Rebecca Reid, from Barrow, is a member of the first cohort to embark on the Florence Nightingale Foundation’s leadership programme for learning disability nurses.

The programme is funded by Health Education England and offers up to 40 learning disability nurses working in communities across the UK a unique career development opportunity.

The programme has been developed to recognise the contribution of learning disability nursing to the country and local communities. 2019 is also the centenary of learning disability nursing being acknowledged as a specialist discipline within the profession.

Since 1929, the Florence Nightingale Foundation has been providing scholarships to nurses and midwives in the UK who go on to make a difference to patient care, policy and practice in their chosen fields.

Rebecca, 28, is a senior community learning disability nurse.  She completed her nurse training with the University of Cumbria, initially graduating with a learning disability nursing diploma in 2012. Rebecca later returned to complete a BSc Practice Development degree and is now also a qualified mentor to the university’s current nursing students, offering them invaluable support.

Rebecca is a respected and valued member of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist community learning disabilities team based at College House, Howard Street, Barrow.

Rebecca said: “The course in London has been absolutely fantastic. We’re each undertaking a project to improve our services in our own areas for people with learning disabilities, learning how to be effective leader and how to present ourselves using our own energies.

“The course is the first of its kind; we are the first cohort. I am honoured to have been chosen to do it and am looking forward to the day of celebration at Westminster Abbey on 15 May.”

Quote from the Foundation

‘The programme has been a great success. The enthusiasm of the participants to learn together to become even better nurses has been just amazing. We hope to be able to offer this programme again later in the year as we want to help learning disability nurses stay in the profession they love, to provide the best care and service to people with a learning disability’.

Quote from The University of Cumbria

‘Rebecca’s career saw her take up her first role at St George’s Mental Health Hospital in Staffordshire before making a return to Cumbria to embark on her degree in 2013.  Selected for the bespoke programme following a rigorous application process, the leadership course allows Rebecca and her peers to develop improved skills and knowledge, identify leadership styles, develop a greater understanding of the impact they can have on patients and others, gain confidence in speaking with and to authority figures, and develop practice that can drive forward services for patients. For health trusts, the aim of the programme, tailored for those in the middle of their careers with aspirations to progress further, is to help retain learning disability nurses within the NHS, have a positive and empowering impact on team working and staff engagement and have improved patient and health outcomes’.

Quote from Health Education England

‘We are delighted that Rebecca has found the course valuable and is already applying the learning to improve care.  Her story and others like it help illustrate to anyone considering a similar nursing career, the difference that it is possible to make to people’s lives and opportunities to develop and excel as a leader.  The attention to detail and experiential nature of the course have been significant in the appreciation of the course expressed by participants, and senior leaders alike’.

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