In 2013, the QNI carried out an investigation into the number of District Nurse courses being offered at universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2014 the exercise was repeated, and extended to include Scotland.

The original report revealed widespread and significant concerns in the number of new District Nurses being educated. The numbers being trained are nowhere near the ‘replacement level’ required to maintain the District Nursing workforce, which has shrunk rapidly over the past ten years as experienced nurses have left the role, principally through retirement.

The majority of registered nurses who lead District Nursing teams complete the Specialist Practitioner – District Nurse with Integrated V100 Nurse Prescribing programme, an approved specialist qualification that is recorded against the nurse’s registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The purpose of this specialist community nursing programme is to support the nurse to develop the skills and knowledge required to be a team leader and manager, capable of working autonomously in leading a team caring for people in the community with increasingly unpredictable, dynamic and complex nursing needs.

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