With health care shifting to a community based, integrated system, the role of the District Nurse is absolutely central to high quality, person-centred care.

However, the standards which define the specialist practice of a District Nurse had not been revised since 1994. Hence it was felt across the profession that there was a need to modernise the standards.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) and Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) led a project to introduce new voluntary standards in 2015.

The 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, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Association of District Nurse Educators (ADNE).

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 at home 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 Standards will support the development of a 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

These standards will enhance, not replace, the existing NMC standards, and will support the development of education programmes for contemporary and future practice.

We 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. The NMC has confirmed they will note where institutions have mapped future accreditation and validation against the new standards.

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