The University of Plymouth is celebrating the graduation of its first district nurses for 15 years, following a shortage of this specialist area of the profession in the South West.
District nursing is a postgraduate qualification, validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and enables those in the role to take on more responsibility such as non-medical prescribing and advanced clinical practice.
Based in the community rather than a hospital setting, the University relaunched the programme as a degree apprenticeship in 2020 following a demand for the role across the South West.
Now the first cohort in 15 years has celebrated its success, with 13 students graduating and already making a difference in the community.
“The University of Plymouth would like to congratulate you all. We have been privileged to witness this cohort becoming specialist practitioners with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to lead, manage and promote evidence based, advanced patient-centred care in the community.
"These graduates will change the face of community nursing in the region. Their passion, drive and commitment to community nursing, make them a credit to their employers and to the University of Plymouth.”
Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive, The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), added:
“I am absolutely thrilled that the University of Plymouth is seeing its first graduates in 15 years from the District Nurse Specialist Practitioner (DNSPQ) programme this summer.
I remember at the QNI annual conference several years ago, Queen’s Nurses in the South West flagged up that a DNSPQ programme would be hugely beneficial to communities in the region who rely on the District Nursing service. The QNs have been instrumental in making sure that this was designed, created and delivered, with support from local employers.
"My congratulations and those of my QNI colleagues to all those involved with the programme, at the university and in practice – and importantly, huge congratulations from all at the QNI to the District Nurse graduates who have worked so hard for their qualification and are now going on to lead and manage teams in the community, working at an advanced level of practice and serving their local populations. We look forward to the graduates keeping in touch with the QNI as your career develops."