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Postgraduate study
Nursing & Health

Specialist Practice in District Nursing
Professional Graduate Certificate


Course overview

District nursing is a core service within the NHS. The Five Year Forward View (NHS England 2015) sets out an expectation that more care will be provided in the community in the future. This care will be for people with increasingly complex needs and the people working in these health and social care structures will have to be more flexible to accommodate this.

The district nurse must respond to these challenges and the Queen's Nursing Institute/Queen's Nursing Institute Scotland (QNI/QNIS) Voluntary Standards for District Nurse Education and Practice (2015) provide a strong framework for district nurses in the current NHS as well as the skills and knowledge base needed to respond to the dynamic nature of community nursing.

On successful completion you achieve the new QNI/QNIS Voluntary Standards for District Nurse Education and Practice as well as the standards set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the Specialist Practice in Nursing in the Home/District Nursing professional qualification which is recorded on the NMC register. This qualification has integrated within it the Community Practitioner Prescribing (V100) qualification (NMC 2006), enabling you to prescribe from the community practitioner’s formulary. You will also have demonstrated skills at Level 3 of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines in brief interventions which is a requirement for a district nurse as set out in the Health Education England’s District Nursing and General Practice Education and Career Framework (2015). This programme has been designed in consultation with local employers, professional standards bodies, students (past and present), service users and carers, and district nurse educators from across the country. This has led to a course which is challenging, contemporary, inspiring and enjoyable.

Where you study

Programme teaching is split equally between the practice placement and theoretical study. The practice placement is organised by your local trust who sponsors you for your place on the programme. This placement is usually in a different team to the one in which you have been working to give you a contrasting learning experience. Your theoretical learning is largely at our Middlesbrough campus.


Professional accreditation

After successfully completing your course you are eligible to be awarded the recordable qualification of the Specialist Practice Qualification in District Nursing which has integrated within it the V100 recordable qualification of the Community Practitioner Prescriber.


Supporting information for applicants

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Course details

You study full time for 44 weeks undertaking six modules. This course includes practice competencies which are achieved whilst you are on placement. The balance of the course is 50% theory and 50% practice.

Course structure

Core modules

Applying Leadership and Management in the Context of Specialist Practice

You reflect on your own leadership skills, strengths, weaknesses and areas for development. You are then guided to consider ways to develop your professional leadership skills. You explore the challenges of leading and managing a team in the current health and social care context and consider strategies to be more effective in this role.

Community Practitioner Prescribing (V100)

You consider issues important for safe and effective prescribing, and develop a reflective approach to practice. You will explore the principles of prescribing and, alongside the taught component, you undertake self-assessment to determine your ability to develop safe and effective prescribing practice. You will work closely with your practice teacher to develop prescribing experiences and complete a portfolio of evidence which your practice teacher verifies.

Enhancing District Nursing

The district nursing professional competencies sit within this module – teaching in your placement area, with your practice teacher or sign-off mentor, is fundamental to achieving this module. This is evidenced through a portfolio. You also explore core aspects of district nursing in more depth in the classroom, considering issues such as case management, risk assessment, the commissioning agenda and communication skills. You explore in-depth issues specific to the district nursing specialism.

Evidence Appraisal

This module develops your understanding of the concept of evidence-based practice as a framework in which to explore different research methodologies. It helps develop key skills in critical thinking, academic writing and information retrieval and begins the preparation for the final-year community project.

Practice Development in District Nursing

You explore an issue which is relevant to practice in your area and consider potential enhancements to the current district nursing service. You undertake a community needs assessment to help you choose an issue and then explore the evidence base for best practice around this topic. You then outline a practice development that would enhance district nursing and follows on from your initial consideration of the evidence. You are guided through this process by a supervisor from the programme team.

Principles and Practice of Managing Long-term Conditions

You gain the necessary analytical and innovative skills, knowledge and competence to meet the demands of community service delivery in the area of long-term conditions. You explore the long-term health conditions agenda and develop your clinical skills.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

This programme requires you to commit to a very comprehensive yet individualised approach to learning. There are opportunities for some components to be accredited through recognised prior learning – this is agreed on an individual basis. We help you gain confidence in accessing digital resources. Some of your learning is shared with students on the postgraduate district nursing programme, some with students on other programmes, whilst some time is dedicated to just your programme. Classroom teaching uses lots of different techniques and approaches, for example group discussions, presentations, project work, clinical skills development in practical labs. We highly value the experience and knowledge of service users and carers who are involved in the programme, for example through teaching activities and assessment. Your practice teacher plays a significant role in ensuring that you have access to great learning opportunities whilst on placement. Their skill and experience also provide you with an excellent role model.

How you are assessed

You are assessed in a number of ways as we know everyone learns differently. These include exams, essays, reflections, reports, simulations, projects and assessing competencies in practice evidenced through a portfolio. Your practice teacher or sign-off mentor is key to these practice assessments.


Entry requirements

Please use this flowchart to ensure you are applying for the correct award.

You will hold a first degree (including 120 credits at Level 6), have an NMC-valid registration as a registered adult nurse, be successful at interview where value-based recruitment is embedded and subject to gaining support from an employing organisation who is responsible for the following essential elements:

  • enabling access to the appropriate learning opportunities - normally you will have supernumerary status throughout the learning programme
  • providing a nominated sign-off mentor or practice teacher who contributes to the teaching and assessment process, is a practising community prescriber and provides you with practice learning opportunities
  • completing a satisfactory work-based risk assessment
  • ensuring you have a satisfactory DBS which was issued within three years of the proposed completion date of your programme and, as the employer, has a policy which requires you to inform them as your employer immediately of any changes which may affect the status of your DBS record - any issues which may have implications for your progression on the programme must be communicated to the programme leader immediately.

Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credits for previous study or related work experience which can be credited towards the course you want to study. Find out more about RPL.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements



Career opportunities

When you successfully complete the programme, you are well prepared for the dynamic and inspiring world of community nursing as well as being in a strong position to apply for position as a district nurse and team leader.



2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

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