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Working with people with learning disabilities in varying degrees of security: nurses' perceptions of competenciesLovell, Andy; Bailey, Jan; Kingdon, Anne; Gentile, Domenica; University of Chester (Wiley, 2014-02-07)This article reports on a three year study conducted into the competencies qualified nurses working with people with learning disabilities and a background of offending behaviour within a range of secure settings (community, low, medium and high), perceived as being crucial to their role. A qualitative approach was taken and data were collected via a series of focus groups and individual interviews. Focus groups were initially conducted in each setting to inform the construction of a semi-structured interview schedule. Thirty-nine interviews were subsequently undertaken with nurses from each setting to develop a fuller understanding of the competencies identified from the focus groups and ascertain if these were influenced by the specific setting which the nurses worked. Data were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis and four competencies encompassing the skills and knowledge nurses perceive as essential to their role emerged: knowledge assimilation and application; team working; communication skills; and decision making. The secure setting influenced how the competencies were manifest in nurses’ practice and experience and practise emerged as crucial variables in how effectively they were applied. Recommendations for application of the research findings in nurse education and further research are made.