School of Nursing and Midwifery

PgDip District Nursing

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.

First choice for health

Delivered by professional experts, our programmes are tailored to you and your career. Together, we address today's most challenging healthcare issues, through research-informed teaching and active, real-world learning. #firstchoiceforhealth 

Key features

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the role of the district nurse and critically examine the theory, practice and principles of district nursing using an evidence based approach to enable you to adapt and provide a wide range of nursing care in home and community based settings.
  • Develop a contemporary approach to community health and social care through advancing and utilising knowledge and skills in professional practice.
  • Deliver specialised advanced case management for people with highly complex and unpredictable needs, including those nearing the end of their lives.
  • Demonstrate confidence, competence, autonomy and legal, ethical and professional accountability.
  • Assume lead roles in district nursing practice leading clinical teams, coordinating care and managing complex and dynamic case-loads.
  • Ensure quality processes, service evaluation and improvement methodology as well as working collaboratively as part of a wider health care team.
  • Promote an understanding of the theory and procedures involved in research, to enable the use of research to improve care and services for people and communities.
  • Develop an understanding of the wider determinants of health, community profiling and health promotion activity in order to respond to community and public health needs, developing a critical understanding of the contemporary issues that influence health service delivery.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the wider influences on and the principles of prescribing in order to practice safely and effectively within your scope of practice.
  • Remain part of the workforce and continue to contribute to patient care whilst working towards your qualification.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Advancing Practice in Context (APP701)

      This module will enable the student to develop their professional understanding within Advancing Practice, allowing them to consider the legal and ethical boundaries, the working environment and the complexities of their practice.

    • Fundamentals of Community Nursing (DNU701)

      This module offers a foundation to community nursing, exploring the concept of holistic assessment, therapeutic relationships and enhanced communication skills, exploration of the wider determinants of health and health promotion theory and its application.

    • Advanced Assessment for Clinical Practice (APP770)

      This module will enable experienced inter-disciplinary practitioners to undertake a systematic and structured history taking assessments and physical examinations on the main systems of the body at an advanced level. The aim is to be able to differentiate between normal and abnormal findings supported by an in-depth understanding of underlying anatomy and physiology of each system whilst recognising the significance of those findings. Emphasis will be on developing an understanding of systems and patho-physiology when seeing and managing patients with undiagnosed and undifferentiated presentations across all healthcare settings. The focus is on interdisciplinary learning to develop the skills needed to make safe, sound clinical decisions within a range of clinical settings, when consulting with patients and clients with diverse health needs across all healthcare settings. At the end of the module, the learner will be able to complete a systematic and structured history taking assessment alongside a physical examination which will allow relatability of findings across all healthcare settings.

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Contemporary Leadership and Management for Community Nursing (DNU702)

      This module will develop community nurses to critically evaluate and implement effective leadership and management skills in the community setting.

    • Independent and Supplementary Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP703)

      This module will enable health care professionals to apply theoretical, analytical and clinical principles of prescribing within their field of practice.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

PgDip District Nursing programme specification standard route 6530

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

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

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2022-23 2023-24
Home £5,500 £6,300
International £5,500 £6,300

 Please note that this programme is not open to applicants who would require a Tier 4/Student visa, but rather only to applicants who are working within the NHS under a Tier 2/Working visa

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the School of Nursing and Midwifery and more details of any additional costs associated with our courses are listed on the following page: Additional costs for nursing and midwifery students.

Additional costs

Please be aware that there may be additional costs to undertaking your studies relating to printing of course materials, parking charges, and requirement for an initial outlay for travel and accommodation in respect of practice placement. If you have any questions regarding these costs please contact
If you are studying on a programme where placements are integral to your study there are costs associated with travel and accommodation. Please speak with the programme admissions tutor to find out more.

How to apply

Applying for this programme
Applications need to be completed via the PG apply online form.
Applicants also need to complete an additional information form and attach it to their application 
Any questions please contact:
Professional Development Unit
4th floor, Rolle Building
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus
Plymouth, PL4 8AA
Tel: +44 (0)1752 586951
What happens after I apply?
After your application is received, it will be processed and sent to the Programme Lead for a decision to be made on your suitability to study. You may be asked to provide additional information or to take part in an interview (for overseas students this may be by telephone or video conference). Once this decision has been made, you will be sent an email either confirming your place on the programme, or rejecting your application and giving the reasons for this decision (you may request further feedback in order to improve your chances of selection at a later date).
Please note that you will be enrolled on the full MSc programme. You may choose to exit with the qualification of PgCert upon completion of an appropriate 60 credits, or a PgDip upon completion of an appropriate 120 credits. More information is contained within the programme specification.
For applicants with disabilities
If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by the University of Plymouth, please visit our Additional support for students with an impairment, health condition or disability webpage.
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. You will spend 1–2 days a week in the University and the rest of the time in practice-based learning. You must have the support of your employer.
  • 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.
District Nurse. Image credit: Caroline Chapman
Image credit: Caroline Chapman

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. 

District Nurse Apprenticeship

We also offer this programme as an apprenticeship. The postgraduate apprenticeship route provides an alternative, flexible entry into the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) District Nursing (DN) programme, enabling the apprentice to study for a work-integrated postgraduate qualification whilst remaining in salaried employment. 
Young nurse measuring blood pressure of elderly woman at home. Female nurse checking blood pressure of a senior woman at home, home carer checking patients blood pressure