Claire Merriman

Community Learning Disability Nurse, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I currently work as a band 5 nurse within the learning disability community support team, as part of the adult neurodevelopmental service at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. My role is community based and involves specialist assessment and interventions with people with a learning disability who also have complex communication difficulties, mental health problems and challenging behaviours. I assess, plan, coordinate, implement and evaluate direct care and manage a defined caseload under the supervision of the lead nurse and clinical operational managers. The role also involves close working with families, carers and providers, and joint working with a range of other professionals, disciplines and services to provide person-centred care.

The Fellowship and supporting programme will provide me with an opportunity early in my career to develop my confidence in leadership skills, using an innovative approach and listening to the views of the people I work with to improve person-centred care within my work. I feel that it is important to understand my own values and the values of my colleagues, the people who use the service and their wider support networks to make improvements that are inclusive and empowering. I feel that it is important to spread awareness on the need to work with the people we support and ensure they are at the centre of their care, as it is still prevalent within society that people with a learning disability can feel like passive recipients of care. I hope to gain support and experience in being able to make improvements to practice by working collaboratively and creatively with others to improve care, and to be able to network within the field of learning disability nursing.