Intellectual Disability Nursing
Definition of intellectual disability
“An intellectual disability is a disability that involves significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills.
This disability originates before the age of 18 and encompasses a wide range of conditions, types, and levels. Intellectual disability is caused by factors that can be physical, genetic, and/or social” (American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 2010).
What it means to be an Intellectual Disability nurse
The intellectual disability nurse provides therapeutic interventions, practical support, and nursing care for persons with an intellectual disability of all ages and abilities. The intellectual disability nurse may work with persons with an intellectual disability in a diversity of roles, from intensive physical nursing of individuals with a profound disability, to facilitative guidance in assisting children, adolescents and adults to live lives of the highest quality in the community.
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Health Service Executive movie clip on Intellectual Disability nursing (118Mb, quick time movie format)
Details of the undergraduate degree (B. Sc. Cur.)
The School of Nursing and Midwifery offers a four year nurse education course leading to a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) (Intellectual Disability Nursing). This innovative programme of nurse education aims to develop and educate nurses to the highest standard of professional practice and competence in the field of intellectual disability.
The programme of education available to student nurses will enable the future practitioner to deliver the necessary nursing care to persons with an intellectual disability. The education enables students to develop the relevant skills, knowledge and attitudes to provide professional nursing support to people with an intellectual disability. The student will develop abilities, which will enable them to provide for the physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs of people with an intellectual disability.
The care of people with an intellectual disability forms part of the nursing profession as a whole, yet it is specialised and uniquely different from other disciplines of nursing, by enabling children, adolescents and adults to achieve the best quality of life that they can attain.
Modular course structure
The Programme consists of the following:
- Theory: 63 Weeks.
- Practice Placements: 48 Weeks.
- Internship: 36 Weeks.
Practice learning environment
The student will gain clinical experience across a wide variety of settings in the care of people with an intellectual disability. A key emphasis will be placed within this course on working collaboratively with other professionals and working in partnership with family members in planning and implementing therapeutic programmes of care. Stewarts in Palmerstown, Dublin and Moore Abbey in Monasterevin, Kildare are the two main sites associated with the training of nurses to work in the intellectual disability arena for Trinity College. Students will be given the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the living areas for children and adults, day centres, employment settings, physiotherapy units, recreational departments and many other areas.
Practice learning placements
This facility is located in an historic setting in Co. Kildare and provides day and residential care for adults with intellectual disabilities. The centre presently spans six counties, Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Meath, Longford and Westmeath. You can find out more about Moore Abbey’s services at http://www.muiriosa.ie
A large day and residential centre for people with intellectual disabilities set in extensive parkland near Palmerstown in County Dublin. Associated community placements are mainly located in the Lucan and Clondalkin area. You can find out more about Stewarts at http://www.stewartscare.ie
Careers options post qualification
Having an intellectual disability nursing degree opens doors in health and social care as this course allows for wide and varied types of employment, some of which are described here:
Staff nurses may work in many different settings. Nurses may care for and support clients who have multiple and complex disabilities or who may be elderly and infirm in large residential and village type services. They may also support people with intellectual disability to live and work in the community. In all that they do intellectual disability nurses strive to offer sensitively designed person centred holistic care. It is the predominant role of the nurse to enable each client to choose the life that they wish and to enable them to attain it, intellectual disability nurses therefore have not only to deploy technical skills that equip them to offer such support but also to communicate empathically and meaningfully with each client that they work with.
Clinical Nurse Manager
Nurse managers are responsible for the delivery of care to large numbers of clients with intellectual disability. Their role encompasses the day to day management of staff and also the design of new care pathways and leadership of large nursing teams.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists work in areas such as epilepsy, challenging behavior, communication and dementia care. As a clinical nurse specialist you may work to support nursing and allied healthcare staff to develop best practice in one of these clinical areas.
Postgraduate Courses available to Intellectual Disability Nurses
There are many courses that are available to qualified Intellectual Disability nurses. Some of these include:
- Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing
- M.Sc. in Gerontological Nursing
- M.Sc. / P.Grad. Dip in Nursing
- M.Sc. / P.Grad. Dip in Nursing - Child Health (subject to College Council approval)
- M.Sc. in Nursing - Clinical Health Sciences Education
- M.Sc. in Disability Studies
- M.Sc. / P.Grad. Dip. in Dementia
- M.Sc. / P.Grad. Dip. in Palliative Care
- M.Sc. / P.Grad. Dip in Mental Health
- M.Sc. / P.Grad. Dip. in Mental Health - Child, Adolescent and Family Strand
Finding out more
Please check the TCD Admissions website for information on the next scheduled Open Day. Please come along and visit us, the Intellectual Disability Nursing team will be very happy to talk with you and answer any questions about intellectual disability nursing as a rewarding career choice for you. You can arrange to meet with us by contacting Paul Keenan at Tel 01 8963861 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check the TCD Admissions website for information on the next scheduled Open Day. We will have presenttions on Intellectual Disability Nursing on that day here at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, 24 D'Olier Street. Please come along and visit us, the Intellectual Disability Nursing team will be very happy to talk with you and answer any queries about intellectual disability nursing as a career choice for you.