It was a
fortnight’s work experience while still at school more than 20 years ago that
gave Sarah Glendinning a taste for working with people with a learning
avoid an office job, she spent time at a day centre for people with cerebral
palsy in Ipswich run by Scope, the national disability charity.
later, at the age of 18, she embarked on RNLD nurse training, qualified three
years later and spent the first 4½ years of her professional life supporting
people with severe and profound learning disabilities in residential care in
Haughley and East Bergholt, Suffolk.
She then qualified
as an RNMH after an 18-month conversion course and worked as a community mental
heath nurse, based in Ipswich, before two years ago taking up her post as a
Mental Health Link Worker at GP practices in Aldeburgh, Framlingham, Leiston
“I enjoyed my
work experience all those years ago because I’m interested in the lives of
other people, trying to understand them and help them, and there was a focus on
social inclusion and activities,” said Sarah, aged 37.
of my time is now spent in mental health, the skills I developed as a learning
disability nurse, particularly around communication, patience and tolerance, make
me better at my job.
“I now work
with people who have mild to moderate mental health problems but when they also
have a learning disability, I make sure that reasonable adjustments are made.
“For example, I
refer some people for online courses or telephone therapy but this is not
always appropriate for someone with LD who would benefit more from a longer,
referrals from GPs and then refers them to the most appropriate organisation,
such as Wellbeing Suffolk, secondary mental health care or services provided by
the voluntary sector.
She is also one
of the Trust’s Green Light Champions, who support people with learning
disabilities and / or autism with a mental health condition.
To read more about learning disability nursing, click here.