Student nurses and midwives break down barriers around learning disabilities

Friday 17 August 2018

Student nurses and midwives break down barriers around learning disabilities
A team of students from RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery made it their mission to educate their peers on empowering people with learning disabilities through a dynamic and interactive conference, held earlier this year.

The one-day event – titled ‘Breaking Barriers: enabling social inclusion and empowerment of people with learning disabilities’ – was the first of its kind in the North-east, as a teaching conference organised by students for students.

It took place on Wednesday 27 June and gave students from all levels of nursing and midwifery an insight into how their practice can impact on and improve the lives of people living with learning disabilities.

Attendees benefitted from presentations from a number of key speakers, including Professor Ian Murray, Head of RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery; Isla McGlade, Nursing Consultant for the LD Service at NHS Grampian; June Brown, Associate Director of Nursing NHS Grampian; and Elaine Scougal and Jamie McCallum, who are parents of children with learning disabilities and have raised awareness of their children’s experiences. 

Jackie Marshall, 3rd year Adult Nursing student and chair of the Breaking Barriers planning team, said: “This event was the culmination of work that began when a number of us attended the ‘Building Momentum’ conference two years ago in Edinburgh and came away with the task and determination to deliver a similar student-led project here.

“We had a lot of positive engagement with NHS Grampian and other third sector partners, who held stalls on the day to assist attendees with their learning.

“I’d also like to offer thanks on behalf of the team to staff at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, who supported our ambitions to make the conference the best experience possible.”

Billy Jackson, Academic Lead for Learning Disabilities at the School, was pleased to see the students’ ambitious plans come to fruition.

He added: “This was an excellent learning opportunity for all of our students to get direct insight from health and social care providers, as well as service users, on how to keep in mind the needs of people with learning disabilities throughout their practice lives.

“I’m very proud of the work the Breaking Barriers team undertook and am keen to hear what their colleagues think about carrying this on in future years.”