Learning Disability Nursing Practice BSc (Hons)

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Learn how to deliver caring, compassionate and restorative interventions to those with a learning disability. Use state of the art simulation suites to gain insight into the real-world of health care. Graduate ready to deliver effective and sincere person-centred care.

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The BSc (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing programme will lead to registration as a qualified nurse in the care of those with learning disabilities in which there is a dearth of experienced and effective practitioners.

You will graduate ready to actively participate and engage with a cutting-edge workforce delivering caring, compassionate and restorative interventions to those with a learning disability. As a critical thinker, you will deliver effective and sincere person-centred care based upon a contemporary evidence-base, which will be administered and applied within a spectrum of clinical skills to include physical health monitoring and promotion, and positive mental wellbeing.

You will be competent and confident in working with and supporting a ‘whole-systems’ approach in diverse settings, ensuring the mental well-being of families and carers with a relative who has a learning disability.

Upcoming start dates
17 September 2018
Nursing Student

Why us?

  • Our Nursing courses are in the top five in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2018
  • The course has been developed in collaboration with two local NHS health care providers, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust (NTW) and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Foundation Trust (TEWV), who have directly informed the content of the curriculum

Course structure

We use various methods of teaching including:

  • Problem-based learning
  • Seminar groups and interactive workshop sessions 
  • Inter-professional experiential learning
  • Consolidation sessions
  • The role of simulation in the development of competence 
  • Webcasts
  • Clinical skills sessions
  • patient and professional contact
  • Inter-professional learning
  • Self-directed study
  • The University of Sunderland Virtual Learning Environment
  • The Nurse Navigator System

Year 1 (national level 4):

Foundations of Learning Disability Nursing Care and Practice

  • NUR 110 – Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
  • NUR 109 - Understanding the Bio-psychosocial Principles of Health and Wellbeing
  • LDN 100 – Foundations of Learning Disability Nursing
  • NUR 111 – Developing Professionalism in Nursing
  • LDN 101 – Foundations of Learning Disability Nursing: Professional Practice

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

Developing Competence and Building Professionalism

  • NUR 240 - Practice-Based Evidence and Evidence-Based Practice
  • LDN 200 – Holistic Learning Disability Nursing Practice
  • LDN 201 - Holistic Learning Disability Nursing Practice: Practice Placement

Year 3 (national level 6):

Inter-professional Integration

  • NUR 361 – Inter-professional Working and Leadership
  • NUR 362 - Dissertation
  • LDN 300 – Learning Disability Nursing Management and Leadership: Practice Placement

Sciences Complex,
City Campus,


  • The University boasts a collection of more than 430,000 books in total, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. There are nearly 9,000 journal titles, mostly in electronic format. Each year the University invests around £1 million in new resources. As a Public Health student, you will have access to a huge range of online databases such as:

    British National Formulary:
    Compiled with the advice of clinical experts, the British National Formulary (BNF) provides up-to-date guidance on prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines.

    The British Pharmacopoeia:
    The British Pharmacopoeia (BP) is the authoritative collection of quality standards for UK medicines and is an essential reference for anyone involved in pharmaceutical R&D, manufacture, testing and regulation.

    CINAHL with Full Text is the world’s most comprehensive source of full text for nursing & allied health journals, providing full text for more than 600 journals indexed in CINAHL.

    The Cochrane Library:
    The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

    PubMed Central:
    PubMed Central is a service of the US National Library of Medicine that includes over 25 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles and includes links to full text articles and other related resources.

    ScienceDirect is a leading full-text scientific database offering journal articles and book chapters covering physical sciences, life sciences, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities.

    Library Services - pharmacy, health and wellbeing
  • This course is based in the Sciences Complex in our City Campus, which has benefited from a multimillion pound investment over the last 5 years. Teaching takes place in multi-media classrooms with state-of-the-art resources for learning.

    The Living Lab boasts the region’s only immersive simulation room allowing participants to experience events in simulated environments. An adjacent task trainer room which can be used flexibly can aid with the development of clinical and non-technical skills. Integral cameras enable participants to view live or recorded footage in our dedicated debrief room. The Lab also has a 7 bedded ward and Point of Care Testing (POCT) facility along with an OSCE suite and seminar rooms.

    The facility currently has 2 SimMan 3Gs, a SimNewB, a SimMom birthing simulator and 2 TraumaFX simbodies. A range of other clinical equipment and part task trainers as well as a pop-up ambulance are available to complement the facilities.

    IT facilities at the University are excellent with hundreds of workstations available as well as wireless internet access. If you have any computer problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    Sciences Complex - Living Lab


The University of Sunderland offers modern and well-equipped facilities at our Sciences Complex.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 112 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent, which must include a Health or Science related subject. Please note we do not accept General Studies AS or A Level.

We also require at least five passes at GCSE grade C or above which must include Mathematics and English Language or equivalent. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL): This is available to applicants who meet the course-specific APL requirements. It may apply to applicants who wish to transfer their nursing studies from another university where they have achieved 120 credits at Level 4. Applicants who have significant healthcare experience and can demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes of the first year of the course may also be eligible. Applications will only be considered for second-year entry. Please note that NHS funding is not currently transferable and student fees will be applicable.

Access: We would be looking for a combination of merit and distinctions in your level 3 units which should preferably include some units in a Health or a Science related subject. We also require a minimum of grade C in maths and English language or equivalent. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Fitness to Practise: Nursing is a registered health care profession for which the ability to practise safely and effectively and professionally is essential, so all nursing applicants will be subjected to Fitness to Practise procedures.

This means you are required to complete two self-declaration forms, one about your health and the other about your conduct. For UK students you will also be required to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. If you are successful, you will also need to complete these self-declaration forms on an annual basis for the duration of the course.

A Fitness to Practise information pack containing the relevant documents will be sent to you by the University of Sunderland once you hold a conditional firm offer with us. These forms are then reviewed alongside your application, and you must meet both the academic and fitness to practise requirements before you will be given an unconditional offer.

These checks enable us to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain activities including the nursing practice placements. The University will take into account current NMC regulations and do all it can to accommodate the needs of undergraduate adult nursing candidates who declare a specific learning difficulty.

In addition, you will also be required to attend a full occupational health screening.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Please use one of the following UCAS codes when applying:

  • Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust B7S2
  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust B7S4

Fees and finance

The full-time annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU

Please note we are not presently accepting international applicants to this programme.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice


Successful completion of the course will lead to registration with the NMC as a qualified learning disability nurse, enabling you to apply for graduate learning disability nursing posts available within the NHS, voluntary and private sector services in the UK.


The NMC requires that all graduate nursing programmes consist of a balance of 50:50 of theoretical university-based learning and clinical placements, which will be within the partnering NHS organisations associated with this programme. This programme has been developed in conjunction with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Foundation Trusts.