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District nurses play a crucial role in the primary healthcare team. They visit people in their own homes or in residential care homes, providing increasingly complex care for patients and supporting family members.
Training and qualifications required
You need to be a registered adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse to apply for a district nursing training programme. The programmes are known as specialist practitioner programmes, are at degree level and usually run over one academic year (32 weeks) full time or part-time equivalent. A level 7 apprenticeship standard in district nursing has been approved for delivery and will offer an alternative route.
Expected working hours and salary range
District nursing jobs usually start at band 6 but there is opportunity to move up the bands with more experience. District nurses in the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Most will work weekdays but there might be some weekend work. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.
Desirable skills and values
You will need to be adaptable and resourceful, working in a variety of workplaces and without the resources of a hospital at hand. You'll need to be well organised, confident and able to cope in potentially challenging situations. Leadership and management skills are also important as you will supervise and lead a team of community staff nurses and healthcare assistants in the delivery of care.
You could lead a team of nurses and healthcare assistants and with experience you could progress to community sister and community matron. Some nurses decide to do into service management, teaching or clinical academic research.
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