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

By David Sims.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper 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. 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 paper 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, Interprofessional Education, Learning Disability Nursing, Social Work, Professional Identity

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp.207-214. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 548.812KB).

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.


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