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ss spotlight - Spring 2023,  learning disability nursing

learning disability nursing

Kim Woolnough finds the simple, strong faith of a patients challenges her source of hope for her patients
'They think I'll be able to start walking soon nurse', a young man with learning disabilities proclaims whilst showing me his make-shift drum kit to use in hospital. His loud, bubbly voice echoes through the ward. He seems oblivious to the extent of the damage to his body caused by a rare infection that almost cost his life. Worried calls come in from his family wondering how he will cope on the ward.

On paper his needs appear highly complex. But in person, as I sit and listen to this remarkable young man who has had a tough start - not made easier by his learning disabilities - I am struck by his simple and beautiful faith in God and joy in meeting new people. When finalising his discharge plans, I felt compelled to reassure him that we were doing all we could to get him fully better so that he could go home.

He grinned as if he had knowledge of a secret sauce ingredient that no one else knew. 'Well', he beamed 'you don't have to worry about that nurse, because Jesus of Nazareth is going to do that for me'.

It stopped me in my tracks.

The confidence, conviction, and security that he placed in knowing his Saviour Jesus would 'come through' for him was so powerful.

It also served to gently nudge off its pedestal the responsibility we often feel to make everything better as nurses and midwives. Thankfully, there is another who is not in uniform but is in the business of healing, guiding discharge plans, and ultimately restoring those in our care. Hallelujah!

Kim Woolnough is a learning disability nurse workingin Oxford.

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