District Nurse

Who is the course for?

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.


This contemporary 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. On successful completion apprentices will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the recordable Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ), District Nurse.

The PgDip DN 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 and the Institute for Apprenticeships District Nurse Occupational Standard.

On successful completion of the programme apprentices will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the professional recordable qualification of Specialist Practitioner District Nurse. They will undertake an End Point Assessment to achieve the Apprentice Standard District Nurse.

Course facts

Duration: Two years

Hours of study per week: Approximately 20 per cent of the programme is theory. This equates to around one day a week over 45 weeks.

Delivery type: A blended approach to learning with face to face study days and highly directed online study resources

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

Areas of specialisms

  • @ 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 case-loads, 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

Core skills

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge and critical awareness of current problems and new insights, informed by the forefront of district nursing professional practice
  • Skills of enquiry and research
  • Coaching and teaching, Enhanced communication skills
  • Decision making skills in complex and unpredictable situations
  • Leadership and management skills, prioritisation of individual and team work-load and case-load management
  • Advanced systematic history, consultation and physical assessment skills
  • Prescribing skills
  • Fluency and confidence in the performance of the clinical skills associated with the provision of community care.

Benefits to the employer

  • Potential to access funding through the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Flexible study option, the programme has been designed with employer stakeholder representatives to meet employers’ needs.
  • Provides a clear development pathway for community nurses to enhance quality of care.
  • Fill predicted shortages by growing your own talent and enhancing skills and knowledge.

Benefits to the apprentice

  • Contemporary, high quality programme in alignment with national healthcare policy and professional bodies
  • No course fees for the apprentice enables the apprentice to study for a work-integrated postgraduate qualification whilst remaining in salaried employment.
  • Benefit from inter-professional learning opportunities and enhanced opportunities to develop integrated care.

District Nurse Staff