Choosing LD Nursing

Which subjects should I study at school if I want to pursue a career supporting people with learning disability?

A good general education with a qualification in English, Maths and Biology/Human biology would be helpful. Access the university websites for entry requirements.

I want to work in care; how can I tell whether I would be suited to LD nursing?

You may wish to talk to your local university or college.

For Edinburgh Napier University, contact Linda Hume at

For Glasgow Caledonian University, contact Mark Gallagher at

You may also wish to consider volunteering at clubs or play schemes for children or adults with learning disabilities.

I'd like to be a LD nurse but worried that I won't be able to provide elements of intimate care. Should I re-consider?

As a nurse this is an important aspect of the role however you will learn and be supported in providing intimate care.

Are there any physical requirements for becoming a LD nurse?

You should have a good level of fitness, if you have a disability then you would be assessed and reasonable adjustments made if possible. You should refer to the NMC guidance on good health and good character.

Do I need PVG (protection of vulnerable groups) and Occupational Health check for a career in LD nursing?

Yes as with all fields of nursing practice you will have to tell the college or university if you have any cautions or convictions. However this does not necessarily preclude you from applying or getting onto the programme. You will also be assessed by Occupational Health and must be deemed fit to start the programme.

What requirements are there where English is not my first language?

There is a test that you sit prior to joining the programme. However if you have studied and gained qualifications in English you are not required to sit this test. There is support given to students whose first language is not English.

Choosing a course

Which colleges and universities offer LD nursing programmes?

Edinburgh Napier University and Glasgow Caledonian University are the only two providers for the Learning Disabilities Degree and Masters programmes in Scotland. There are also a range of colleges across Scotland who offer courses which allow you to access nursing.

Is each LD nursing programme linked to a particular geographical area of Scotland?

There is some flexibility, but generally Edinburgh Napier University covers the East of Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University covers the West of Scotland.

Is it possible to work whilst studying LD nursing?

The Programme is full time but many students also work to supplement their bursary. You need to be prepared to balance your studying and work commitments so any part time job needs to be flexible.

Student life

Do LD nursing and related college students get any financial support?

University students receive a non means tested bursary of approx £500 per month.

Students on enhanced HNC route will be able to apply for NHS or SAAS bursary.

Will I get travel expenses for work placements?

If you have a placement out with your local area you will be able to claim accommodation and travel expenses.

How much of LD nursing programme is studying and how much is work placements?

The programmes are 50% theory and 50% practice placements. The theory will include face to face, online and independent learning.

How does studying LD nursing and studying related college programmes differ from other degree provision?

LD nursing is a mix of theory and practice placements across the year including the summer.

What accommodation is available?

You will find information about accommodation on the college or university websites:

Who can apply?

Do age and/or gender present barriers to LD nursing?


I have experience but no formal qualifications. What should I do?

You can apply to college to do an access to nursing course which will prepare you to join the undergraduate LD nursing programme.

l am a support worker and would like to become a LD nurse. What are my options?

You can do the access to nursing course or an HNC and join the degree programme in second year.