An investigation into the advocacy role of the learning disability nurse

Penny Llewellyn*, Ruth Northway

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper discusses the interaction between the first and second stages of a three-stage grounded theory study that investigated the advocacy role of learning disability nurses in Wales. Definitions of advocacy and their advocacy support needs obtained from people with learning disabilities in the first stage informed the design of focus groups in which nurses compared their own perceptions of advocacy with those of people with learning disabilities. The nurses also discussed barriers to advocacy, independent advocacy services and their requirements for advocacy education. Findings revealed that all nurse participants advocated for their clients, but some definitions of advocacy by people with learning disabilities were not considered relevant to their current practice by some nurses. Nurses' advocacy role varied with their work situation and was influenced by adherence to either the individual/medical or the social model of disability. All nurses recognised barriers to advocacy, but ability to access independent advocacy services was inconsistent, as was participants' attitude towards and willingness to use these. Nurses' received education in advocacy varied, but they expressed a need for ongoing support and training in advocacy related to their own work area and had specific requirements regarding how and by whom this should be provided.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-161
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


    • Advocacy
    • Advocacy education
    • Independent advocates
    • Learning disability nurses
    • People with learning disabilities


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