Operating Officer Stuart Richardson can still remember being told off by his
ward manager for being “too friendly” with the patients shortly after
qualifying as a learning disability nurse in 1993.
At the time, he
was working in a large institution in Yorkshire, which had once been a
workhouse, where patients were not allowed their own belongings, including
clothes. Some patients had lived there all their lives.
Stuart, who later
gained a degree in learning disability studies while working as an LD nurse in
the community, described that early period of his career as a “hard time” and
welcomes the progress that has been made since.
“I’m pleased that
we’ve moved away from a medical model to one where multidisciplinary teams care
for people with a learning disability, and that we’ve advanced from advocacy to
self-advocacy where service users and patients have more of a voice,” he said.
“I’m proud that
our Trust has successfully implemented the Green Light Toolkit, which many
other organisations have struggled with, thanks to colleagues like Sue Bridges
and Dawn Collins.
disability nurses are trained to support the whole person, so it is no surprise
to me that so many of our staff who qualified as RNLDs are now working so
successfully in mental health, as well as in LD services.”
sixth-form and before embarking on nurse training, Stuart was a support worker
for people with a learning disability at a care home in Norfolk.
inequalities and I wanted to support people who were disadvantaged and had few
opportunities in life,” he said.
“The fact that
the smallest thing could make such a big difference, such as by allowing a service
user decide what they want to eat or drink, or how they spend the day, was very
has spent his entire professional life supporting people with LD to various
degrees, he says that is his current role he misses the clinical work and the
day-to-day contact with service users and families.
To read more about learning disability nursing, click here.