The report summarises the results of an audit of District Nurse education for the academic year 2021/22. This is the tenth annual District Nurse (DN) Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) education audit, a process that was established by the QNI in 2013. 

Programme Directors for Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved SPQ programmes in District Nursing at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from across the four countries of the UK were invited to complete an online survey. The audit report based on their responses includes quantitative data and quoted comments from educators that complement the numerical findings.  

Headline findings 

  • 668 District Nurses qualified with a SPQ in the 2021/22 academic year; this is a decrease of 6% from the previous year.  
  • 647 new students enrolled on the DNSPQ for 2022/23, 54 of these are on the apprenticeship route (England only). This represents a decrease of 9% on the number of enrolments in the previous year, representing a further decline in the number of students.  
  • There are 32 universities currently registered to deliver the DNSPQ programme with the NMC; five universities are delivering programmes and awaiting revalidation using the new NMC post-registration standards (2022).  
  • 33 universities responded to the QNI audit survey.  
  • Respondents shared widespread, ongoing concerns over central government funding of the DNSPQ.  
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