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Integrated Practice in Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Social Policy and Social Work

UCAS Code: BL75

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time


UK - £9,250 per year

International - £12,660 per year

In Brief:

  • Incorporates Social Work and Registered Nurse in Learning Disability qualifications
  • Professional preparation to work in the Learning Disability Service
  • Only course of this kind in Greater Manchester that combines nursing with social work
  • Overall student satisfaction for this course is 95% (NSS 2018)
  • An interview will be required for admission onto this course
  • Overseas study available
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • Clinical placement opportunity

Course Summary

This exciting and innovative course offers you the opportunity to study for two professional qualifications whilst gaining the knowledge, skills and experience required to support people with learning disabilities in a range of health, social care and community settings.

You will study a number of related topics including sociology, psychology, social policy, law and ethics, risk and abuse, health promotion and human growth and development, which are applicable to working with people with learning disabilities and their families and communities.

This course places a strong emphasis on working in partnership for and with people with learning disabilities. It adopts a person centred approach to understanding the assessment, planning and implementation of care and support.

Half of the time on the course is spent on placement where you will be supported by qualified practitioners, including nurses and social workers. Here you will relate the theories of the professions to real world practice and demonstrate your knowledge and skills through direct work with people with learning disabilities, their families and communities.

When you qualify, you will be able to register as a qualified nurse (learning disability) with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and to the Health Care Professions Council as a social worker.

The lecturers and other students were so supportive, helping me every step of the way. I had 6 placements and each one helped to shape me into the professional I am today. I couldn’t be happier; now I see the difference I make on a day to day basis. I’ve trained over 160 medical professionals and reduced the fear of medical professionals for a number of people with learning disabilities. This job is such a worthwhile one, i've definitely found my calling!"

Laura Platt, graduated 2016

Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

This is an integrated curriculum that incorporates all the requirements of study for the generic social work and registered nurse in learning disabilities qualifications. It recognises that people with learning disabilities may have health and social care needs that require differing levels of support and intervention. An emphasis is placed on the empowerment, enablement and independence of people to meet these needs within their own communities.

Core principles of nursing and social work care delivery are explored from a theoretical and practical perspective. This includes: an understanding of human growth and development from physical, psychological and sociological perspectives; an application of legal, ethical and moral frameworks to social work and nursing practice; an appreciation of the wider context of health and social policy; using evidence based practice and research skills to inform decision making; An exploration of learning disabilities from a socio-political perspective both nationally and internationally to inform integrated professional practice.

Your time will be split equally between theory and practice. You will study a number of related topics including sociology, psychology, social policy, law and ethics, risk and abuse, health promotion and human growth and development which is applicable to working with people with learning disabilities and their families and communities.

Placements represent a fundamental aspect of the course and you will gain a wealth of experience in a diverse range of settings including NHS, local authority, secure settings and the independent sector. You will complete over 2,300 hours on placement which will give you valuable insight and experience of supporting people in the real world.

The University makes every effort to assist students in finding a placement but is unable to guarantee that a placement opportunity will be available or that students will have access to the placement of their choice. There is a nationally recognised shortage of placements and availability is dependent upon external providers who are able to offer a limited number of placements opportunities. If you are unable to take up a placement opportunity you will need to return any funding that you receive from the Student Loan Company if you are not actively attending the programme.

Further guidance is available from the Practice Education Lead, Allison Coleman.

Year 1

To enable the student to acquire essential knowledge, skills, values and attitudes in order to best meet the needs of individuals, families and communities and develop key principles and concepts underpinning professional practice.
To provide students with an understanding of the historical development of health and welfare services and how this has shaped the legislative framework relating to the delivery of health and social care today. In addition, students will develop an awareness of factors that impact on health and wellbeing across society and develop and apply concepts and approaches to health promotion within a diverse society.
To enable students to identify the nature of learning disabilities including causation, impact, complexity and the support needed by individuals, families and communities, taking into account relevant bio-psycho-social perspectives. In addition, students will develop an understanding of the role of Nurses, Social Workers and others professionals who support people with a learning disability, and ways in which discrimination, oppression and exclusion can be addressed whilst promoting empowerment inclusion and person centred thinking and practice.

Year 2

To enable students to identify and respond to the changing mental and physical health needs of individuals, families and communities across the lifespan and to recognise specific social phenomena such as class, poverty, unemployment, disability, age and gender impact on mental and physical health. Students will specifically consider service systems in relation to children and families and those in need of support to achieve and sustain mental health as well as develop assessment skills that clearly identify ongoing and developing health needs from childhood through to end of life care.Health and Wellbeing across the Lifespan – Theory
To enable students to achieve key roles and outcomes in practice
To enable students to work collaboratively across inter-professional settings and boundaries in order to maximise the health and social wellbeing of children and adults who have a learning disability irrespective of the degree or complexity of their impairments. To maximise the student skill set in relation to working in partnership with individuals, families and other professionals in order to develop and sustain a person centred focus on the individual child or adult who has a learning disability.

Demonstrate the competencies outlined in the Practice Assessment document that is commensurate with Year 2 Semester 3 Demonstrate the outcomes outlined by the NMC/GSCC for progression point 2

Year 3

To provide an opportunity for students to study and reflect on historical, political, social and economic factors in service systems from a European and International perspective and to critically review differing perspectives. In so doing, students are better able to locate and critically analyse contemporary British provision within a wider international context.
To introduce students to different ways of defining research problems; acquaint them with key principles of research and evidence based practice; to explore a range of research methodologies and skills and to enable students to undertake, analysis of research data and consider the implications for professional practice.
Facilitate students to utilise their acquired knowledge, skills and values in the transition from student to qualified professional practitioner; to prepare for a career in learning disability services by providing them with opportunities to further develop their understanding and skills so central to working sensitively and responsively with people who have a learning disability and their families and to enable them to become professional and autonomous practitioners, managing themselves and others effectively through personal and professional reflection and supervision.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Police Clearance All offers on this course are made subject to police clearance. The University adheres fully to the CRB Code of Practice.
Health Clearance All offers on this course are subject to Mandatory Health Clearance.
Other qualification Knowledge and understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities and their families
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
GCSE Maths and English minimum grade C/grade 4 required or Level 2 equivalents - Key Skills Level 2 English and Key Skills Level 2 Mathematics
UCAS tariff points 104-120 points
GCE A level 104-120 points
BTEC National Diploma DDM
International Baccalaureate 30
Access to HE 60 credits overall with at least 18 level 3 credits at distinction grade and a maximum of 9 credits at pass

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

Interview process

Successful applicants who meet the criteria will be offered an interview. At interview, applicants will be tested on literacy and numeracy (you can try a demo of the Maths test here), ability to communicate effectively and to work in groups to achieve a task within allocated time and your values in relation to caring. There will also be an individual interview where applicants will have to answer questions posted by service users/carers.

Have a look at our top ten tips for preparing for your interview. If you are offered an interview following your application, you will be sent further information about what to expect and what you need to bring with you on the day.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 7.0 overall with a minimum 7 in reading, writing and speaking is required for this course.

Applicant profile

Applicants should demonstrate a clear desire and commitment to work with people with learning disabilities. This may be achieved through any number of expressions of: personal experience of caring for people with learning disabilities, exposure to working in environments where people with learning disabilities attend, desirable personal characteristics/attitudes, insightful perceptions of nursing and social work, an insight into career opportunities, an appreciation of the the contributions nurses and social work make to care, relevance of recent study no more than five years ago, hobbies, involvement in voluntary activities, relevance of involvement in college/work activities, an appreciation of the value of life experiences.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Full-time International £12,660 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £12,300 per year

Please note: For applications for entry in September 2017 or later, there have been changes to the funding of fees and a bursary will no longer be available. Please see more information on the changes here.


A variety of teaching and learning methods are used.

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Directed study
  • Problem-based learning
  • Individual tutorials

You will be on placement for a total 320 days during this three year course.


  • Written assignments
  • Presentations
  • Direct observations of practice
  • Open book exam


This course is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) with graduates eligible to apply for registered status with both regulatory bodies. The professions of nursing and social work offer a broad range of generic and specialist posts in local authorities, NHS and private and voluntary sector organisations.

Career Prospects

As a practitioner who recognises the importance of collaboration across the social and health care divide, you will be extremely valuable to employers. You will be well equipped to take up a range of posts, many within statutory services. Graduate roles include social workers, care managers, community nurses, team leaders and registered managers working across residential, hospital and community fieldwork settings. There are further opportunities to specialise in areas such as autism, complex health needs, behaviours that challenge or forensic services. Graduates can expect a starting salary around £22,000 rising to around £40,000 with increased responsibilities and promotion.

Alumni Profile

"I found the course to be challenging but the lecturers and other students were so supportive, helping me every step of the way. I had 6 placements and each one helped to shape me into the professional I am today.”

My final placement was within the Stockport community learning disability team, where I now work. I was lucky they were recruiting shortly after I finished the course! I had a great year doing health assessments, dementia screens, helping people move house, commissioning services for them and working with a range of other professionals.

A job came up for a band 6 primary healthcare facilitator. It sounded like an amazing job - I would be getting people with learning disabilities into their GPs for their annual health check, which they often find scary and as a result go to their GP significantly less than anyone else with a long term health condition.

I couldn’t be happier; now I see the difference I make on a day to day basis. I’ve trained over 160 medical professionals and reduced the fear of medical professionals for a number of people with learning disabilities. One man I worked with hadn’t been near a medical professional in seven years - it wasn’t easy but with time, patience and a big dose of fun we were both smiling when I got his blood pressure reading."

Laura Platt, graduated 2016.

Links with Industry

We have formed strong and varied partnerships with a large number NHS Trusts and social work agencies in the North West which means your learning is informed by current practice and developments. You will undertake your practical placements in a variety of setting depending on what area you wish to specialise in which include hospitals, community settings, third sector and private health care organisations.

Further Study


Our Clinical Practice Wards are located in the Mary Seacole Building on the second floor. There are four rooms designed to give the look and feel of a hospital environment. The rooms are furnished with patient's beds, lockers, chairs, sinks and curtains as well as audio-visual equipment, internet and a teaching area.

We also have a number of clinical skills rooms that enhance student learning from taking blood pressure, to giving CPR and more complicated procedures. Along with nursing skills rooms where you can practice in a ward situation, there are basic skills rooms for sessions such as moving and handling.

Patient Simulators

The patient simulation laboratory provides you with the opportunity to tackle real-life scenarios in a safe and supported environment. Set up like a hospital ward, the lab contains hi-tech patient simulators that can mimic everything from the common cold to a major heart condition.

The equipment includes:

  • Emergency Care Patient Simulators: Anatomically correct, feature-rich mannequins, which can be used for the physical demonstration of various clinical signs including bleeding, breathing, blinking eyes and convulsions.
  • iStan Patient Simulators: A step up from the ECS, the iStan adds an essential human element to patient simulation. It moves, breathes, can cry out or moan with pain, providing a realistic patient for you to practice on
  • Pedia Patient Simulator: A complete reproduction of a six-year-old child enabling you to practice paediatric scenarios
  • Baby simulator: This mannequin makes it possible to interact with our most vulnerable patients - in a safe, realistic learning environment

All the simulation equipment can be linked up to some very hi-tech computer and audio-visual aids. Groups of students get to role-play a wide range of different scenarios, with a lab co-ordinator observing, running and intervening in the scenario remotely.

Sophisticated computer equipment can also provide detailed physiological information for each of the simulators under observation. The lab will help you develop the clinical skills you need but also the high level communication skills that will make a real difference to your patients.

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