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What does a district nurse do?

The role of a district nurse is an important part of a patient’s healthcare journey – caring for people at their own home and in residential care homes, district nurses provide complex care for patients, while supporting family members.

If you’re looking to expand your skillset into the area of district nursing, or you’re looking for the next step in your career, our detailed guide has you covered.

The role of a district nurse

The responsibilities of a district nurse can vary, but some of the most common duties include:

  • Assessing the healthcare needs of both patients and their families
  • Providing complex care for patients
  • Monitoring the quality of care that the patient is receiving
  • Ensuring that level of care is delivered, and being professionally accountable for the patient’s wellbeing

As a district nurse, you’ll likely be visiting your patients every day, or in some cases, more than once a day, to provide support.

Although a district nurse’s patients can be any age, they’ll often be elderly. They may also have recently been discharged from hospital or have physical disabilities, meaning they need extra care. In some cases, patients may also be terminally ill and need end of life care.

District nurse FAQs

When determining whether the role of a district nurse is the right path for you, it’s helpful to read FAQs about the duties, the education required for the role, and salary expectations.

What qualifications do you need to be a district nurse?

In order to apply for any district nursing training programmes, you must already be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as an adult, child, disability or mental health nurse. This means you will already need to have obtained a degree in nursing.

A district nurse training programme is also at degree level and is known as specialist practitioner programme. There are also courses available to take at Masters level, or post graduate certificates. These types of courses will likely take one academic year to complete and comprise of 50% theory and 50% practical studies. The four areas of study include:

  • Clinical nursing practice
  • Care and programme management
  • Clinical practice development
  • Clinical practice leadership

Do district nurses work weekends?

Yes – it’s likely you will work some weekends. Typically, you will be working a standard working week, which is around 37.5 hours. This will be dictated by a shift pattern, including evenings, weekends, night, weekends and bank holidays.

How much do district nurses get paid?

District nurses will be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, which usually starts at Band 6:

  • <2 years’ experience – £32,306
  • 2-5 years – £34,172
  • 5+ years – £39,027

Can district nurses prescribe medication?

Yes – district nurses can provide medication to patients in a similar way to general practitioner doctors. This is to ensure the patients are cared for in their own homes, or residential homes, avoiding A&E and the GP surgery.

What is a district nurse’s career development?

As is the case with many healthcare workers, once qualified as a district nurse, there are vast opportunities for career development. For example, you may want to lead a team and become a community matron, or there’s the possibility of moving into the teaching sphere. Alternatively, you could look to focus on clinical research.

District nursing roles with Thornbury

We’re continually searching for qualified district nurses to join our team to work in temporary, last-minute placements in NHS and private hospitals. You’ll need to work to our high standards, and, in return, you’ll receive full professional support and fantastic pay rates from us. If you’re a qualified district nurse and looking for roles across England and Wales, with high pay rates and exclusive benefits, register online with us today.

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Natasha Lovell
Natasha Lovell
1 month ago

I recommended my sister to Thornbury as she is a highly skilled District Nurse and she was told by Thornbury recruitment that there wasn’t a need for District/ Community nurses and had never seen an advert asking for District nurses !!
Could someone please help us

1 month ago
Reply to  Natasha Lovell

Hi Natasha, I am sorry to hear that your sister was told this. We are definitely looking for District Nurses at the moment. I will email you to resolve this. Kind regards, Ian

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