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BSc (Hons) Pre-registration Nursing (Learning Disabilities)

Empowering Minds, Transforming Lives: Study Learning Disabilities Nursing at Plymouth Marjon University

A nurse assisting someone with learning difficulties

NMC Accredited (subject to approval)

Unleashing Compassionate Experts: Plymouth Marjon University's Learning Disabilities Nursing Program combines cutting-edge education with hands-on experience, fostering a new generation of skilled and empathetic nurses dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with learning disabilities

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Three A-Levels at grades BCC-BBB


Or T levels at grade M

GCSE English Grade 4 / C or above or L2 Functional Skills

An Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 104 tariff points, of which at least 30 credits at Merit

Nursing Associates and Assistant Practitioners must have completed a recognised L5 programme of study and  Submit a Portfolio of Evidence for recognition of prior learning (RPL).

If English is not the applicant’s first language and they do not have GCSE English Grade 4 /C or above or L2 Functional Skills, then IELTS (or equivalent qualification) will be required with an overall score of at least 7.0 (at least 6.5 in all elements sections) in accordance with NMC Guidance. 

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UCAS points 104 -120 UCAS Tariff points to include 64 UCAS Tariff points from 2 ‘A’ Levels, BTEC or equivalent

UCAS code NUR1

UCAS institution code P63

Duration 3 years

Course Summary

Within the course, students will be required to consider the importance of advocating for individuals with learning disaibilities, maintaining dignity, ensuring safety and providing compassionate care. In addition, the importance of promoting both physical and mental health, and supporting people with long term conditions.

This three-year degree is mapped to the NMC (2018) Standards of proficiency for Registered Nurses and includes both academic and practice-based learning. Successful completion of the programme leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The programme is delivered within a supportive learning environment and includes classroom and simulated learning within our state-of-the-art clinical simulation suite and is taught by experienced registered nurse academics and other professionals from a wide range of clinical backgrounds.

The programme includes 4600 hours in total with a minimum of 2300 hours required in clinical practice placements. Learners are supported in clinical practice by registered nurses, nursing associates, assistant practitioners, and other members of the wider intraprofessional team. Learners are both continuously and formally assessed by Practice Supervisors and Practice Assessors who have completed additional training.

Why study nursing at Marjon?

Led by experienced faculty, it emphasises hands-on learning in diverse clinical settings.

Our holistic curriculum covers all aspects of learning disabilities care.

We foster an inclusive community and offer cutting-edge resources for effective learning.

With strong industry ties and a scenic coastal location, students gain a unique educational experience that prepares them to make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals with learning disabilities

Modules for this course

1st Year

Essentials of Nursing Practice
Embark on your journey to becoming a registered professional nurse! This module delves into essential knowledge, skills, and values for contemporary practice. Explore professionalism, accountability, and your own nursing philosophy while honing communication through high-fidelity simulation.
Placement 1 - Integrated care for nursing students
Immerse in dynamic nursing practice across modern healthcare settings. Guided by dedicated supervisors and assessors, refine practical skills, embrace reflective practice, and explore evidence-based approaches. Experience high-fidelity simulations, ensuring hands-on readiness
Social Determinants of Health
Uncover the roots of health disparities! From poverty to poor health literacy, this module delves into social determinants shaping well-being. Learn to promote health, empower choices, and champion positive change for individuals facing diverse challenges
Biological and Pharmacological Aspects of Health and Wellbeing
Unlock the secrets of the human body! Dive into anatomy, physiology, and health influences. Master pharmacology basics and learn to promote effective medication management. Elevate your nursing expertise.
Integrated Care for Nursing Students Part 2
Exploring diverse healthcare settings, this module immerses students in real-world nursing practice. From community to hospital-based placements, they're guided by dedicated assessors. It's a journey of honing practical skills, reflecting on decisions, and embracing evidence-based care.

2nd Year

The Role of Evidence-based Practice in Clinical Decision-making.
Unravel the dynamic healthcare landscape! This module delves into evolving policies, guiding students in evidence-based clinical decisions. Discover the power of information sources and ethical research practices for a global perspective on nursing care. Adapt and excel in this ever-changing field
Placement 1 - Enhancing care and clinical decision making
Level up your nursing expertise! In this module, you'll dive deep into clinical practice, guided by seasoned professionals. You'll master safe care delivery, refine decision-making, and align it all with patient needs and ethical guidelines. Get ready to excel in your nursing journey!
Developing Knowledge and Skills in Complex Care.
Master the art of providing safe, evidence-based care for patients with complex needs. Dive into local & national policies, reflecting on real-world challenges. Get hands-on with high-fidelity simulation and scenario-based learning. Elevate your nursing practice!
Placement 2 - Improving safety & quality of care for those with complex needs in practice
Experience hands-on learning under professional supervision to enhance knowledge, assessment skills, and safe nursing care for complex health needs. Develop expertise in clinical care, decision-making, and interprofessional teamwork, aligned with NMC standards. Elevate healthcare delivery and promote patient well-being

3rd Year

Healthcare Management
Unleash your potential in healthcare management. Our module dives into contemporary themes, empowering you to challenge norms and solve real-world problems. From leadership theory to hands-on simulations, gain the skills to lead with confidence and innovation.
Placement 1 - Healthcare Management in practice
Year 3's first placement is your gateway to honing leadership & management skills in delivering inclusive, person-centered care. Learn to navigate diverse backgrounds & cultures, while understanding group dynamics. Discover how to drive organizational change & shape public policy!
Quality Improvement
Unleash your potential as an innovative healthcare leader! Our module delves into quality improvement, using research and clinical audit to drive change and elevate care delivery. From honing communication skills to exploring QI frameworks, we equip you with the tools for transformative healthcare practice. Dive into real-world projects and emerge a change-maker!
Placement 2 - Improving Quality of Care
Year 3's final placement sharpens leadership skills, driving quality, safety, and person-centered care in healthcare. Students dive into dynamics, culture, and organisational change, becoming change catalysts armed with top-notch communication and management prowess.

Please note: This course is subject to validation which means that it is either a new course or that the content is currently being updated. You can apply for this course now while some of the details of the course are being finalised by the University. Please contact the course leader if you would like further information.

This course is perfect if you're curious about...

Improving the lives of individuals with learning disabilities

Providing compassionate care

Making a positive impact in the field of healthcare

What might I become?

On successful completion of the programme you will be eligible to apply to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a Learning Disabilities Nurse. As a learning disabilities nurse, you may work in various settings, including hospitals, community health centres, residential care facilities, and schools.

Your responsibilities could include assessing and planning care, administering medications, providing emotional support, and advocating for the rights of individuals with learning disabilities. Furthermore, this programme may open doors to advanced roles such as clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager or supervisor, or even positions in research or policy development related to learning disabilities nursing. Additionally, you may have opportunities for further education and specialisation in areas like mental health or advanced practice nursing.

This programme prepares you for a fulfilling career dedicated to making a positive impact in the field of learning disabilities nursing.

The aim of this programme is to prepare and enable students for a dynamic and fast-changing health and social care system. Along with your placements and year-round clinical skills sessions you will participate in taught modules.
Claire Langman - Associate Dean for Nursing and Health Sciences

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Teaching on the Learning Disabilities Nursing programme at Plymouth Marjon University encompasses a diverse range of methods to ensure a comprehensive and engaging educational experience. This includes traditional approaches like lectures, seminars, and tutorials, where students have the opportunity to absorb foundational knowledge and engage in lively discussions.

E-learning platforms further augment the learning process, allowing for flexible and accessible study. Personal and Professional Development Planning encourages students to take ownership of their learning journey. Workshops, peer learning, and guest speaker sessions facilitate practical skills development and exposure to industry insights.

Practice-based and Problem-based Learning, along with Interprofessional Learning, instill critical thinking and collaborative abilities. Coaching and Mentoring offer personalised support, while Clinical Simulation provides a hands-on, immersive experience.

How will you be assessed?

Assessment in the Learning Disabilities Nursing programme at Plymouth Marjon University is designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of students' knowledge and skills.

This includes the use of innovative tools such as the ePractice Assessment Document (ePAD) and eOngoing Achievement Record (eOAR), which facilitate continuous monitoring of progress and competence. Critical Reflection, Case Studies, and Essays offer opportunities for in-depth analysis and application of theoretical concepts. 

Additionally, assessments like Numeracy and Drug Calculation Skills In-Class Tests ensure proficiency in crucial clinical skills. The Dissertation serves as a culmination of independent research and in-depth exploration of a chosen area within learning disabilities nursing. This diverse range of assessment methods ensures that students are thoroughly evaluated in both theoretical understanding and practical application throughout the programme.

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Saoirse Read

Course leader

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Having previously served as the Learning Disabilities Liaison Manager for a prominent acute trust, she brings a profound understanding of the healthcare landscape and a deep commitment to improving the lives of individuals with learning disabilities. Her leadership roles across various practical domains of learning disabilities nursing have not only honed her expertise but have also equipped her with a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities within the field. Saoirse is ready to inspire and guide you towards excellence in learning disabilities nursing!

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250

Fees for International students: £14,500

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Additional costs:

Additional costs:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check (Annual Update Service or dated within 6 months of the start of the course)
  • Evidence that an occupational health declaration has been completed prior to starting the programme
  • Evidence of all required vaccinations being up-to-date
  • Travel to and from placement
  • Accommodation and general living costs
  • Textbooks
  • Stationary
  • Printing/Photocopying
  • Membership of a Union (Optional but advised)
  • NMC registration on completion of the programme.
  • There may be some discretionary trips and other activities to support your studies

Funding available for this course

Our Student Funding Advisors offer confidential and impartial advice about your funding options.

Student funding advice


Lauren Davis


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Rebecca Horne

Pre Qualifying Healthcare Lecturer

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Sandy Knowles

Senior Lecturer

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Anne-Marie Lyons

Senior Lecturer

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Julie McCoy

Adult Nursing Programme Lead

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Frequently asked questions

Q1   What resources and facilities are available to students on-campus to support me in the clinical setting?

You'll have access to a rich array of resources and state-of-the-art facilities both on-campus and in clinical settings. Our campus boasts a cutting-edge simulation suite, which replicates real-world healthcare environments. This suite includes an acute ward, providing students with hands-on experience in acute care scenarios. Additionally, there is a fully equipped GP surgery, allowing students to practice primary care skills. To further enhance practical learning, we have a residential home setup for a realistic understanding of long-term care, as well as a mock flat to simulate home-based care scenarios. These resources provide you with a diverse and immersive learning experience, ensuring you are well-prepared to excel in various healthcare settings upon graduation.

Q2   How does the university support students in terms of career guidance and job placement after graduation?

Marjon is dedicated to guiding students towards a successful and fulfilling career path after graduation. Our comprehensive career support includes personalised guidance from experienced advisors who assist in resume building, interview preparation, and job search strategies. We also facilitate networking opportunities with healthcare professionals and organisations through career fairs and networking events. Additionally, our strong industry connections and partnerships with healthcare institutions provide direct pathways to job placements. Through workshops, seminars, and masterclass networks, we ensure students have the tools and resources needed to confidently transition into the workforce and embark on a rewarding career in learning disabilities nursing.

Q3   What is the learning environment like at Plymouth Marjon University, and how is diversity and inclusion valued within the programme?

The learning environment at Marjon is characterised by its inclusive, supportive, and nurturing atmosphere.  Our commitment to inclusivity aligns closely with the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which emphasises the importance of a diverse healthcare workforce in delivering high-quality care. We actively foster an environment where students from all backgrounds feel valued and empowered. This approach extends into the Learning Disabilities Nursing programme, where we ensure that curriculum, teaching methods, and clinical experiences reflect a range of perspectives and experiences. By embracing diversity, we aim to equip our students with the cultural competence and sensitivity needed to provide exceptional care to individuals with learning disabilities, regardless of their background or circumstances. 

Q4   What types of placements can I expect in the first 18 months, and how do they prepare me for my future career?

In the first 18 months of the Learning Disabilities Nursing programme, students can anticipate a diverse range of placements that provide a holistic foundation for their future career. These placements are carefully curated to ensure a comprehensive learning experience. Students will have the opportunity to engage in clinical settings that encompass mental health, child nursing, and adult nursing. This exposure is crucial in fostering a well-rounded understanding of healthcare delivery across the lifespan.  Students will work under the guidance of experienced assessors and supervisors to refine their assessment abilities, ensuring they meet the requirements for conducting a full physical assessment competently. Engaging with other fields of nursing allows students to appreciate the interconnectedness of healthcare and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach.

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