Local learning disability nurse gains national recognition


A Kirklees nurse who works with local people who have learning disabilities has been highly commended in the diversity category of the nursing standards awards 2008.

Janice Muhanna, professional development nurse for South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, was recognised in the awards scheme after she established and led a special group that aims to improve service provision for people with learning disabilities and their carers from the South Asian community in North Kirklees.

The ‘North Kirklees learning disability ethnicity group’ was first launched in December 2004 and brings together a variety of NHS staff as well as carers of people who have learning disabilities. The group has since gained recognition as a ground breaking project.

Janice Muhanna said, "People with learning disabilities from South Asian communities are one of the most disadvantaged groups in our society. Differences in the way disability is described and a lack of mutual understanding between services and the South Asian communities means people with learning disabilities and their families can miss out on the support they need. Our ethnicity group tries to improve understanding and break down some of the barriers."

The learning disability and ethnicity group has carried out work on a range of projects to build links and raise awareness. These include a forum for staff to meet with South Asian people with learning disabilities and their carers and a workshop with some of Batley’s Imams, (Muslim religious leaders).

Along with Janice’s national award commendation, the work of the ethnicity group has also been presented at various conferences and workshops and has been praised by the Department of Health. Positive feedback has also been received from members of the local Asian community, including religious and community leaders.

George Smith, head of nursing at South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust was responsible for nominating Janice for the nursing standards award and said, "Janice is a perfect example of everything that is good about nursing. She works tirelessly to ensure service users and carers get better services, but never seeks the recognition she undoubtedly deserves. That made it very easy to nominate her. She perhaps would not have put herself forward as she probably doesn’t think that anything she does is unique. It is nurses like that Janice inspire us all.’

Local learning disability nurse gains national recognition

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