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Br J Nurs. 2003 Dec 11-2004 Jan 7;12(22):1335-44.

Interprofessional practice and learning disability nursing.

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  • 1Portsmouth Institute of Medicine, Health and Social Care, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth.


Several decades of policy and service change in the field of learning disability have set in place new service boundaries in health and social care, leading to different working relationships for professionals based on interprofessional and interagency collaboration. However, economic pressures may result in agencies offering resource-led rather than needs-led services, resulting in fragmented services and tensions between professional groups faced with tough choices in order to meet the long-term needs of people with learning disabilities. One of the key roles of the registered learning disability nurse (RLDN) is that of facilitator in meeting the healthcare needs of people with learning disabilities, which involves interprofessional working across these new health and social care boundaries. The aim of this article is to present the findings from a small scale research study that was undertaken to explore the views of the RLDN group in relation to interprofessional practice in the long-term support of people with learning disabilities. Set within a grounded theory methodology, this article focuses on one element of the research study, which was a descriptive analysis of individual practitioners' experiences. In documenting the practitioners' accounts, the research begins to identify a series of key roles and significant practice knowledge held by those employed in learning disability nursing positions.

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