The Role of Joint Training in Practitioner Development for Learning Disability Services

Dr. David Sims
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This presentation reports on the development and outcomes of professional
training programmes in England in which undergraduates jointly qualify in learning disability nursing and social work . Drawing on evidence from a national study carried out as part of a doctoral research thesis, it explores the influence of this training on practitioners who graduated from five universities. Questions about the professional identity of graduates are discussed and the relevance of joint training to interprofessional practice is evaluated. A flexible case-study design was used in the research, involving multiple methods of data collection, and an interpretative methodology. Data was collected through a survey administered through the universities to their ex-graduates followed by semi-structured interviews with graduates working in learning disability services. The results suggest that graduates have a holistic, inter-professional orientation towards practice and hold a breadth of knowledge and skills. Some skills gaps were identified at the point of qualification as well as the dilemma of having to choose between two professions. The presentation makes reference to the work of Bernstein (2000) to situate joint training in a newly created region of knowledge and a new professional space between two disciplines.

Keywords: Joint Training, Inter-professional Education, Learning Disability, Professional Identity
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Role of Joint Training in Practitioner Development for Learning Disability Services, The

Dr. David Sims

Professional Lead for Social Work, School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich
London, UK

Prior to my work in Higher Education I was employed as a Day Service manager in services for people with learning disabilities and worked in multidisciplinary settings in both the National Health Service and in Social Services. My career in university began as programme leader for a joint training programme in learning disability nursing and social work and later I became Head of Division in a multidisciplinary faculty. I have a strong interest in inter-professional education and currently am researching the impact of joint training for a doctoral thesis at the Institute of Education, London. I am currently leading the development of a new Post Qualifying Masters programme in Social Work.

Ref: I07P0150