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Winner of learning disability nursing TikTok contest revealed

The winner of a competition aimed at raising awareness of the nursing profession’s “forgotten” specialty has been announced.

In celebration of Learning Disability Nurse Day, which is today, the UK Consultant Learning Disability Network (UKCLDNN) invited people to create a one-minute TikTok video showing off why people should join the specialty.

Registered learning disability nurse Michelle Curran and her 12-year-old nephew Lorcan scooped a £500 prize for their video.

The video features four residents of Cherry Hill supported living service, part of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, who Ms Curran said were excited to be featured on TikTok. The residents talk to camera about why they need learning disability nurses.

In the background of these heartwarming testimonials is footage of Equal Notes Community Choir, which is run by music therapist Karen Diamond.

Watch the video here.

Ms Curran said the idea for her winning video came to her while talking with her nephew about the competition, and that his enthusiasm and her desire to promote the specialty made her do it.

“Throughout the process, [my nephew] asked me lots of questions about learning disability nursing and the people who we care for,” she said.

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“He then made the executive decision to add the stars that surround the four residents when they speak.”

She added: “The video-making process for all was such fun. I can’t wait to tell all involved that they have won.”

The competition was led by Sue Bridges and Gwen Moulster, learning disability nurse consultants with more than 70 years of experience between them, as a way to get more people aware of and interested in their specialty.

Speaking with Nursing Times when the competition was announced, Ms Bridges said learning disability nursing was an ageing workforce of just 3,000 nurses.

With large numbers approaching retirement age, and a rising need for learning disability staff both in social care settings and hospitals, Ms Bridges said getting people interested was crucial.

Ms Moulster said at the time: “When young people think about what they want to do, it’s not in their reach of information. Even when they have information about nursing, they generally think of the other fields.

“Often, people come into it by accident. It’s like our secret job, but we don’t want it to be a secret.”

The competition, the consultant nurses said, was chosen as a way to reach more young people via TikTok, a platform favoured largely by those under 25.

“The video-making process for all was such fun. I can’t wait to tell all involved that they have won”

Michelle Curran

Second place in the competition went to registered learning disability nurse Caitlin Hicks.

Ms Hicks’ video, set to This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, depicts learning disability nurses helping patients with challenges they face such as discrimination, bullying and other hurdles – and lists the huge variety of roles they take on.

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Joint third place was won by Gerard Wainwright, whose video featured testimonies from nurses about what they do, and Gary Docherty. Mr Docherty’s video featured two young people talking about the need to “shine a light” on the branch of nursing.

Second and third place won, respectively, £100 and £50 each.

As well as the TikTok competition, the UKLDCNN has also been creating other resources to promote the specialty for Learning Disability Nurse Day.

These include template presentations for primary schools explaining what learning disabilities, and learning disability nursing, are and distributing links to the NHS careers service.

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