District nurses make a difference every day to the lives of the people they visit at home and in residential care homes. They provide increasingly complex care for patients and support for family members.
As a district nurse, you’ll:
- assess the healthcare needs of patients and families
- monitor the quality of care they’re receiving
- be professionally accountable for its delivery
Your patients could be any age, but they’ll often be elderly, while others may have been recently discharged from hospital, be terminally ill or have physical disabilities.
You’ll be visiting patients every day or more than once a day, offering help, advice and support. You may work on your own or with other groups, such as the social services, voluntary agencies and other NHS organisations and help to provide and co-ordinate a wide range of care services.
As well as providing direct patient care, you’ll have a teaching and support role, working with patients to enable them to care for themselves or with family members teaching them how to give care to their relatives. You’ll also be accountable for your own patient caseloads.
Entry requirements and training
You need to a registered adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse to apply for a district nursing training programmes.
District nurse training programmes are known as specialist practitioner programmes and are at degree level. You can also find courses at post graduate certificate and Master’s level. They are normally no less than one academic year (32 weeks) full time or part-time equivalent.