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Ms Jillian Pawlyn

photo of Jillian Pawlyn

Profile summary

Professional biography

Field lead - learning disabilities


I am an experienced Registered Nurse (Learning Disabilities) (RNLD) (NMC), qualified nurse lecturer (TCH), Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), and masters-level graduate with varied clinical, teaching and management experience with strong communication and information technology skills.

During my years as a registered nurse, I have developed a specialist interest in the health needs of people with a learning/ intellectual disability, in particular those individuals who have Profound Intellectual and/or Multiple Disabilities (PIMD/ PMLD). 

Research interests

Doctoral researcher at The Open University. 

I am a member of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, the Carer Research and Knowledge Exchange Network (CAREN) Carer Research Group, and the Nursing Research and Scholarship Group.

My primary interest is in the health of people with a learning/intellectual disability.

My early research career focused on how learning disability nurses use eLearning in Professional Education.

I am also interested in how technology can widen access to health information and developments in digital health literacy, particularly service user and caregiver digital health literacy. 

Teaching interests

I am a Lecturer in nursing and an enthusiast and advocate of technology-enhanced learning.

My priority is embedding Learning Disability Nursing theory and practice within the curriculum and raising awareness of the health and care needs of people with learning disabilities.

Teaching on modules:

Previously taught on module:

  • K*236: Extending your contribution to healthcare practice (2018 - 2022)

Author on modules:

  • K102: Introducing health and social care.
  • K104: Introduction to Healthcare Practice
  • K*210: Understanding nursing: knowledge and theory (Module Team Chair)
  • K*328: Becoming an autonomous practitioner: learning disabilities

Impact and engagement


External collaborations

Advisory Panel Member - Improving the support for older people with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge, family and professional carers, and supporting end-of-life care planning for carers (2019 to 2023)

East Midlands Learning Disability Nurses Network (EMLDNN) (2014 to date)

Learning and Intellectual Disability Academic Nurses Network (LIDNAN) (2016 to date)

Future Learning Disability Nurse Network Member (2022 to date)

Scottish Learning Disability Lead Nurse Group (SLDNL) (2022 to date)

Scottish Learning Disabilities Nurse Education Network (SLDNEN) (2019 to date)

Scottish Learning Disability Nursing Network (SLDNN) (2018 to date)


Externally funded projects

Improving the support for older people with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge, family and professional carers, and end of life care planning for carers.
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Sep 202028 Feb 2023NIHR National Institute for Health Research

There are around 900,000 learning disabled people in the UK and around a fifth are estimated to engage in behaviours that challenge (BTC). These behaviours often occur when the person is upset by a change in their environment. While research and NICE guidance exists on older learning disabled people and their family carers, and separately on people with BTC; policy and research in the UK has so far failed to address how services can be addressed to support older learning disabled people with BTC. We know very little about how family caregivers face the choices and challenges about caregiving as they become older but know that decisions can be left too late to enable choice. We know even less about the experiences of older people with BTC particularly in the context of transitioning to older people’s services, in periods of crisis or at end of life. There is an even more pronounced absence in the academic and grey literature regarding the lives and experiences of older learning disabled people with no family carers. Our study will explore the support and health needs of older learning disabled people and carers and identify ways of easing transitions to different care settings through forward planning and reducing the development of BTC. This is particularly important as learning disabled people are living to an older age. We will explore how carers manage their caring role as they age themselves. How they experience and negotiate behaviours that challenge. How the concept of forward planning can be introduced in a way that is acceptable and reassuring to carers and their children. How health, social care and end of life care services can best support older learning disabled people with BTC including situations where active family involvement is absent. And how commissioners can be innovative in developing a service infrastructure that better meets the needs of this group.


Reflections on writing journal articles (2021-10-07)
Pawlyn, Jillian
Learning Disability Practice, 24, Article e2074(5)

[Book Review] Belonging for People with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities: Pushing the Boundaries of Inclusion (2020-08)
Pawlyn, Jillian
PMLD link, 32 (2)(96) (pp. 47-48)

Management of indwelling urinary catheters for people with learning disabilities (2019-07-18)
Tremayne, Penny and Pawlyn, Jillian
Learning Disability Practice, 22(4)

Caring for People with Learning Disabilities: Attitudes and Perceptions of General Nurses (2019-05-16)
Noronha, Maria T and Pawlyn, Jillian
Learning Disability Practice, 22(3)

Inhaler and nebuliser technique for people with a learning disability (2019-01-29)
Clark, Samuel J and Pawlyn, Jillian
Learning Disability Practice, 22(1)

Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities (PIMD/ PMID/ PMLD) (2023)
Pawlyn, Jillian
In: Barksby, J. and Charnock, C. eds. Learning Disability Case Studies ((in press))
Publisher : McGraw-Hill

Physical health (2022)
Dalton O'Connor, Caroline; Caples, Maria and Pawlyn, Jillian
In: Atherton, Helen. L. and Crickmore, Debbie. J. eds. Intellectual Disabilities: Towards Inclusion (7th ed.) (pp. 191-212)
ISBN : 9780702081507 | Publisher : Elsevier Ltd

Transition from Child to Adult Health and Social Care Services in England (2023)
Pawlyn, Jillian
Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, Open University