Post Graduate Diploma in District Nursing

For any queries regarding admissions or enrolments, please contact the Professional Development Unit Admissions team

Visit: Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.

Opening hours: 

Monday - Thursday 08.30 - 17:00

Friday 08:30 - 16:30.


This programme has been designed with close collaboration between key stakeholders including students, clinical representatives, academics and patient / service users, families and carers. Reflecting the constant changes within the community healthcare environment whilst building on existing good practice the programme has been designed to take into account strategic and professional changes. It aligns with regional health care employers’ strategic objectives and goals around workforce planning. On successful completion students will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the recordable Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ), District Nurse.

The programme can also be studied via an apprenticeship.  

The programme

The programme is aimed at registered adult nurses with a minimum of one year’s post-registration experience who wish to develop their knowledge, skills and practice to perform in the role of Specialist Practitioner District Nurse awarded by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.


  • Flexible study option, the programme has been designed with employer stakeholder representatives to meet employers’ needs.
  • A clear development pathway for community nurses to enhance quality of care and career progression.
  • Contemporary, high quality programme in alignment with national healthcare policy and professional bodies.

Core skills

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge and critical awareness of current problems and new insights. 
  • Skills of enquiry and research. 
  • Coaching and teaching. 
  • Decision making skills in complex and unpredictable situations. 
  • Leadership and Management skills, prioritisation of individual and team workload and caseload management. 
  • Advanced systematic history, consultation and physical assessment skills. 
  • Prescribing skills. 
  • Enhanced communication skills. 
  • Fluency and confidence in the performance of the clinical skills associated with the provision of community care.  

Areas of specialism 

  • Develop a contemporary approach to community health and the delivery of community nursing care. 
  • Leadership and management in the community setting, coordinating care and managing complex and dynamic patient caseloads, prioritising care and resources.
  • Advanced case management for people with highly complex and unpredictable needs including those at the end of their lives. 
  • Skills to ensure quality processes, service evaluation and improvement methodology.   

Overview of modules

Year 1 

Foundations of Community Nursing 

APP701 - Advancing Practice in Context

Develop professional understanding within advancing practice, allowing them to consider the legal and ethical boundaries, the working environment and the complexities of their area of practice specialty.

You can choose to study either APP710 OR APP717. 

APP710 - Advancing Assessment for Clinical Practice

Undertake a systematic and structured history taking assessment alongside a physical examination in order to integrate advanced assessment findings into clinical decision making.

APP717 - The Fundamentals of Health Assessment

A module for registered healthcare professionals who wish to develop in their area of professional clinical practice.

Year 2

NMP603 / NMP703 - Independent and Supplementary Non-medical prescribing

The aim of this module is to advance the development of health care professionals, enabling the understanding of wider influences and principles of prescribing, in order to practice safely and effectively within their scope of professional practice.

Contemporary Leadership and Management in Community Nursing

The aim of this module is to advance the development of community nurses to implement effective leadership in the community setting, including case-load, work-load and work-force management. It will critically explore the role of leadership and clinical governance, including, and enable them to provide quality care. Looking at approaches to team development and education and practice development. Wider socio-political, ethical, professional influences on community health care delivery.

Course details and entry requirements

Course type: Full-time.

Duration: Two years. 

Hours of study: Students will spend 1-2 days a week in the university and then the rest of the time in practice-based learning. Applicants must have the support of their employer. 

Delivery method: A blended approach to learning with face to face study days and highly directed online study resources and work-based learning. 

Entry requirements: 

  • Entrants must be registered nurse (Level 1) and have a minimum of one years post-registration experience.
  • Entrants must possess the competence, experience and academic ability to study at the required level of the programme.
  • Entrants should have completed study at Level 6 or higher within the last 5 years*.
  • All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) Maths and English at Grade C or above.
  • Students will be required to be working in a community setting that will facilitate the successful completion of the programme learning outcomes and achievement of a minimum of 600 hours district nursing and community practice.
  • Applicants where English is not the first language must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice, that is, IELTS of 7 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each part.

* In order to commence the programme, entrants must meet the University’s entry requirements for study at postgraduate level. 

Applicants will normally have a first degree, BSc (Hons) at 2.2 or above; or European first cycle equivalent plus a professional qualification in health or social care. Those individuals without a degree but with appropriate practice related experience relevant to the programme may be eligible to apply. Candidates without a first degree at 2.2 or above (or European first cycle equivalent) will normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process. It is necessary to assess the potential student’s ability to study at masters level and therefore an interview will be necessary

Claims for credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential are considered and if suitable accepted for Recognition of Prior learning, following University regulations and Faculty procedures.

Fee: £5,500 per annum. 

Other key facts: Students will remain as part of the workforce and continue to contribute to patient care whilst working towards their qualification. 


Offers are subject to a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

You can contact the Professional Development Unit with any queries

Prospective student enquiries:


Phone: +44 1752 586951

Current student enquiries:


Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.

Monday–Thursday 8:30–17:00 and Friday 8:30–16:30.