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The pandemic has shone a light on the whole of social care - as well as the vital role nurses fulfil, working alongside their social care and NHS colleagues. We need you, in order to be ourselves - Karen Roberts, Lifeways

By Karen Roberts, Group Head of Health and Clinical Governance, Registered Learning Disabilities Nurse, Queen’s Nurse

Today, May 12, we celebrate International Nurses’ Day. We couldn’t let the day go by without recognising all the nurses within our Lifeways Group team of 11,000 colleagues working across the UK.

We are lucky to have our wonderful nurses working in our residential services, as well as supporting our services which are part of SIL, Lifeways Group’s specialist team of mental health professionals.

However, you might not know that we also have nurses within other roles across Lifeways Group. These include Service Managers, Registered Managers and Regional Directors, who use their skills every day to ensure individuals receive the best support possible.

As a Registered Learning Disabilities Nurse (RNLD), and Queen’s Nurse, I include myself in this category!

Nurses who work in social care have distinct expertise that makes them invaluable in our sector. They use their clinical skills to understand the variety of needs of individuals in order to deliver truly person-centred support. They recognise the importance of giving each individual a sense of choice, security, purpose and achievement.

It’s no exaggeration to say to our nurses: we need you, in order to be ourselves.

Incredible rewards

But people sometimes ask me: as a nurse working in social care, what kind of person do you have to be? Well, working as a nurse in social care tends to attract people who find personal fulfilment in enabling people to live well as an important member of society.  And the rewards are incredible.

At Lifeways Group, our nurses are in varied roles. As well as providing direct care and support, nurses are highly skilled advisors, mentors, coaches, shift-leaders, and role models.

We’ve seen colleagues in support roles who have decided they want to be the nurses of the future - and after working with us, have decided to do their nurse training.


Although nurses make up only a small part of the overall social care workforce, it’s absolutely vital that our sector can attract and retain these professionals. We support our existing nurses and those joining us with a specific nursing induction and learning pathway to help them with their Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

The last two years have shone a light on the whole of social care - as well as the vital role nurses fulfil, working alongside their social care and NHS colleagues.

So today on International Nurses’ Day, I want to say a very big “thank you” to all our nurses. We value each and every one of you.

About Lifeways Group:

Lifeways Group supports adults with diverse and complex needs, including learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and mental health conditions. 

Our 11,000 colleagues currently support almost 5,000 individuals who live in our 1,500 supported living and residential services across England, Scotland, and Wales. 

Find out more about how we change people's lives at:  or if you would like to find out more about what a career in supported living is like read our blog on your questions answered about a career in supported living.

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