The Queen’s Nursing Institute has published its fifth annual report on District Nurse education in the UK.

The report analyses trends in the number of students enrolled on the District Nurse (DN) Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) programme in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This fifth report includes a review of trends over the previous five years.

The report indicates that the increase in District Nurse student numbers seen in recent years has stalled.

Headline findings:

  • There were 551 new entrants to the Specialist Practitioner – District Nurse programme in 2016/17, down 14 from the previous year.
  • 464 District Nurse Specialist Practitioners qualified in 2017, compared to 517 in 2016. This represents a significant drop of 10.25% and the first time that there has been a drop in numbers since the first District Nurse Education Report was published in 2013.
  • There are 42 universities in the United Kingdom (UK) approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to offer the District Nurse Specialist Practice Qualification (DNSPQ). This is a drop from 44 approved courses in 2016.
  • 38 universities responded to the survey; of these, two universities did not run the programme. One university was planning to apply for re-approval in 2021.
  • Of the 551 new students in the 2016-17 academic year, 395 were full time and 156 were part time.
  • There has been a rise in the number of universities offering the V300 Independent Prescribing course as part of the programme from 9 in 2015/16 to 12 in 2016/17.
  • 91% of university respondents had mapped their programmes to the QNI/QNIS Voluntary Standards for District Nurse Education and Practice (2015).
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