The Queen's Nursing Institute

The Queen's Nursing Institute works with the public, nurses and decision-makers to make sure that good quality nursing is available at home for everyone when they need it.

Healthcare at home

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Providing vital funding for projects that help improve patient care.

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Standards for District Nursing Education and Practice

The survey completed for the 2020 vision publication and the Reports on District Nurse Education in the UK for 2012-13 and 2013-14 highlighted the need to revise the standards for the District Nurse Specialist Practice Qualification to ensure nurses undertaking the course were equipped for contemporary and future practice.  These standards have not been updated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council since 1994.  The project commenced in September 2014 and is due to complete in September 2015. The project has been  guided by an advisory group with representation from the four UK countries and reflecting perspectives of education commissioning, service commissioning, education provision, third sector, clinical commissioning, public health and the NMC.  Following a literature review, survey of universities offering the SPQ and focus groups reflecting a broad range of stakeholders held across the four UK countries and visits with District Nurses in each of the countries, a framework of standards has been developed.  QNI/QNIS are keen to consult as many people as possible about the proposed standards.  Linked below you will find a brief introduction to the project and the focus of the consultation.  A second document contains the proposed standards.  A third document contains the NMC standards for specialist practice for District Nurses.  This is for reference only as the proposed standards have been mapped against the NMC standards.  Please read the introduction and standards document and then click on the survey monkey which only consists of 7 questions.
Survey monkey link
If you require any further information please contact the part time project manager, Mary Saunders at

New Voluntary Standards for District Nursing Education and Practice were launched by the QNI and QNI Scotland in 2015. 

The QNI and QNIS recommend that the new voluntary standards are adopted by all education providers currently offering the NMC approved Specialist Practice District Nurse programme in the UK.

To request printed copies, please contact us at

This project was guided by an advisory group with representation from the four UK countries and reflecting the perspectives of education, the third sector, clinical commissioning, public health and the NMC.


‘The QNI/QNIS Voluntary Standards reflect developments in curricula and care delivery across the four countries. They provide a benchmark for district nurse education and practice supporting the ongoing development of district nurses who are able to manage and lead the complexity of care and teams in the community to deliver evidence based person-centered care.’

Julie Bliss, Chair, Association of District Nurse Educators

‘Community and primary care nursing services in England are at the very forefront of individualised services that need to be shaped by the voices of service users, carers and the public, in response to their health needs. That is why we welcome those standards, which represent a step forward in setting and establishing the standards that underpin the delivery of high-quality patient care.

‘Our District Nursing and General Practice Nursing Service career framework, published in November, set out the skills required to perform these important roles and in doing so will ensure that district and general practice nursing professionals are equipped to deliver health outcomes now and in the future.’

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing, Health Education England

‘The very future of the NHS relies on moving care closer to home and district nurses are the lynch pin for empowering people to be cared for in their own homes and in the community.

‘There is overwhelming evidence that district nursing reduces costs in the long-term and provides more appropriate, patient-centred care. These new Voluntary Standards will support the development of a district nursing workforce with the education and training to make a significant difference to the lives of patients – and the NHS overall.’

Gill Coverdale, Professional Lead for Education, Royal College of Nursing

‘As chair of the National District Nurse Network, I would like to give our full endorsement to the voluntary standards for District Nursing education and practice. The majority of our members are from provider organisations and I feel that the standards accurately reflect the role of the modern District Nurse whilst, at the same time, providing a framework for the future of District Nursing.’

David Pugh, Chair, National District Nursing Network

‘Marie Curie and District Nurses have a strong tradition of working together in communities across the UK, so we were really happy to be involved in developing and endorsing these standards. We recognise the pivotal role that District Nurses play in getting people timely access to the right care as they approach the end of life, keeping patient choice at the very heart of what they do.’

Dee Sissons, Director of Nursing for Marie Curie

‘There are currently 2.5 million people living with cancer and while many are living longer with the disease, sadly this doesn’t mean they are necessarily living well. People require high quality care to support them through treatment and beyond and District Nurses have a crucial part to play. Not only do they deliver vital care in peoples’ homes and communities, such as administering pain relief or changing dressings, they are also key to co-ordinating a wide range of support such as access to therapy.

‘We want to make sure District Nurses are supported and recognised for the outstanding contribution they make to cancer care services, which makes such a difference to the lives of people affected by cancer. And that is why, forty years on from the introduction of the first Macmillan professional , we are delighted to have helped shape the QNI Voluntary Standards.’

Jacqueline Goodchild, Workforce Programme Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support 


Click here to read the press release (2015)




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Nursing Heritage Calendar