The Queen’s Nursing Institute and Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland have published new voluntary standards for Community Learning Disability Nurses in the UK.

The standards articulate the specific elements of advanced practice demonstrated by Registered Nurses who have completed a Community Learning Disability Nurse (CLDN) Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) programme.

It is anticipated that the new standards, launched following Learning Disability Week 2021, will support Community Learning Disability Nurse (CLDN) education and practice across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The new standards comprise a set of benchmarks and guidance to inform current and future education and practice requirements expected of a registered nurse on completion of a post registration CLDN SPQ.

An easy read version of the standards has also been commissioned.

The full standards document and the easy read version can be downloaded here. 

There are estimated to be 1.5 million people living with a learning disability in the UK (ONS, 2019; Mencap, 2019). As the four countries of the UK’s ‘Long Term Plans’ outline (NHSE/I, 2019), (NHS Scotland, 2019) (Gov.Wales, 2019) (DOH, 2016), national policy focuses on promoting community based, integrated and inclusive health and social care, with specific recognition of health inequalities in people with a learning disability and/or autism. In this national policy context, the role of the specialist practitioner Community Learning Disability Nurse assumes major and growing significance.

We hope these new standards will support and inspire new opportunities and approaches to education for community learning disability nursing practice across the four nations of the UK.”

Clare Cable, Chief Executive and Nurse Director, QNI Scotland

These standards are very timely in raising the profile of the advanced specialist expertise of Community Learning Disability Nurses. Their role as autonomous practitioners is central to the provision of health and care in the UK for people with a learning disability and/or autism, their families and carers. It is anticipated that Higher Education Institutions across the UK will adopt these voluntary standards as a best practice guide in developing CLDN SPQ programmes, ensuring a consistent, quality-assured and UK-wide approach.

Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive, QNI

The standards reflect the current practice of the modern-day CLDN Specialist Practitioner, including specific competencies for this specialist area of practice. To develop the standards, it was essential to gain an insight into the challenges and experiences of Learning Disability Nurses working in the community setting today. Extensive consultation and collaboration with Experts by Experience, Higher Education Institution (HEI) programme leads, and Community Learning Disability Nurses has therefore been undertaken in the development of the standards.
I would like to acknowledge the fantastic engagement, commitment and shared passion from Community Learning Disability Nurses across the UK who together promote best practice. These standards have already been recognised for ensuring best practice at a high level and promoting the voice of Community Learning Disability Nurses, as well as the voice of experts by experience, with a special thanks to Mr Lloyd Page.

Angie Hack QN, Assistant Director of Nursing Programmes, QNI

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