Learning disability nurses in Cumbria are trying to encourage more people to consider it as a career.

Those working in local teams say it is an incredibly satisfying job, filled with variety and different opportunities.

Kay Lynas is the team leader in south Cumbria, based in Barrow, said helping those with learning disabilities through some of the toughest times of their lives is very rewarding.

"You get so much back from it. To see someone achieve something - there's no better feeling than that," she said.

In recent years, the number of people taking up a career in learning disability nursing has dropped.

Yet a recent national report found that these patients often dying earlier from preventable diseases, and these nurses are the very people that could help to reverse that worrying trend.

Here, the University of Cumbria - which is one of only a few nationally that offer nursing students an opportunity to study learning disability nursing - is working with local health teams to promote the opportunities available across the county.

They include community adult and children's nursing, working on an inpatient unit and becoming a specialist therapist.

The south Cumbria team are preparing to host a community open day, at the Forum in Barrow on June 7, so that anyone who may have an interest can find out more about it. However they stressed that there are also opportunities in north and west Cumbria.

It is hoped the event will everyone from attract sixth formers and students to those looking for a career change later in life.

Kay said they work with patients who have physical or mental health needs, as well as those with challenging behaviour.

"There's so much that we do. The recent publication about health inequalities for those with learning disabilities showed that they are dying early from preventable diseases.

"We support people to access mainstream services. That's really important," she said.

Rebecca Reid, senior community learning disability nurse, added: "A lot of it is about understanding.

"If you someone with learning disabilities goes to a hospital appointment and gets a lot of information, they can sometimes just nod along but not really understand what's been said. Communication is massive, whether its the language used, easy read guides or pictures.

"We need to make sure that we give clients information they understand and support them through that."

One of their clients is George Robson, 82, who lives in Barrow. He was referred to the team last year as he was suffering from physical health problems and needed some extra support.

He said he had two stays in hospital, and the local community learning disabilities team - including nurses, physiotherapists and others - helped him to make the transition back home and retain his independence.

George is now a regular client, speaking to the team every day on the phone. He sees his allocated nurse every week - and he said she even brings him his favourite pie when she visits.

"They've been very good. I've told them all that they're smashing," said George, who will be attending the open day, alongside other clients, and has even recorded a video about his experience.

One of the newest members of the south Cumbrian team is student nurse Emily Riley, who has just started a three-month placement as part of her University of Cumbria nursing course.

Originally from Exeter, she chose to come here to study because of its links with the local learning disability service.

"I was a support worker for people with learning disabilities and was looking at career opportunities, and saw this course. I didn't really know about learning disability nursing," said the 19-year-old.

"Not many universities do learning disability nursing, so that's what I liked about Cumbria. I'm really enjoying it. Everyone is really helpful. It's very rewarding and unpredictable, which I really like."

The open day runs from 11am until 3pm and aims to provide an informal environment where people can find out more about the opportunities available, and what the training involves.

Kay added: "I think learning disability is the most skilled nursing pathway. You need a lot of adaptable skills and are working with people with both physical health issues and mental health issues."