Talk Health and Care

Sowing the District nurse seed!

Working as a nurse in the community is invigorating because you are not closed within  four walls and you get to work more autonomously. It takes a bit of patience to become competent in all the skills a District Nurse requires but once you have them, you are trusted to make on the spot decisions about peoples care and you can make significant improvements to improving peoples lives . You get to problem solve, provide holistic care and work with a variety of people. By working closely with other services; Matrons, GP's, Physiotherapists,Tissue viability nurses, you get to know lots of people!

There is great team spirit in District nursing and when times are hard, the team really pulls together! Each nurse and health carer has a variety of skills and qualities which we utilize to best support our patients and support each other. If a staff member feels that they need to improve on a skill, they will go out with another nurse to help them feel more confident and competent. We phone each other all the time and we discuss every patient's care at handover so that we can share ideas and support each other. The Sister in charge is always available and overlooks the caseload to ensure all is well. 

Our job is never repetitive or boring because every day is different and the range of care we provide is quite broad. One day we could be providing wound care with a VACC pump to a young patient after a RTA. The next day we could be managing the symptoms of an end of life gentleman and providing emotional support to his wife. 

There are many opportunities to progress within Community nursing or to specialize in one particular area. There are new posts being developed all the time;  Our trust has recently developed a new role for a wound care nurse specialist.  

Our patients are happier because they are at home and not feeling trapped in hospital. I love my job because I can help keep people out of hospital and support them to live independently or to die in the comfort of their own home with their family around them. 

I love my job ! 

What can be done to encourage more staff to want to work in community settings?

During my nurse training, there was no mention EVER of District nursing. It was believed amongst students and hospital staff that you had to be old and very experienced to be a District nurse and it was actually by luck that I found out that I could work with the District nurse team as a Band 5. When I found out, I left my job straight away and have enjoyed my job ever since.

I believe that community nursing doesn't appear within the nursing degree curriculum enough for nurses to even be aware at all of its existence let alone be thought of as an option for future employment.  I think that when nurses are taught about holistic assessment and care that they could be shown a video based on a district nurse visiting a patient at home so that they can identify all the aspects of a good holistic assessment. The community setting needs to be brought into the University training so that students are more aware that the hospital setting is not the only setting to work in. There needs to be more awareness of district nurse especially with the NHS future plan towards increased community care. This will not be possible without more nurses having experience of this type of setting. 

Obviously more placements with district nurse teams would make a difference so more district nurses need to become Mentors.  

We have students on their community placement that come to us and they really enjoy their placement. I had a student who when she first came to us, had never considered becoming a District Nurse but she completed her course and got a job in the community. 

What would improve your day-to-day life working in the community?

More Staff!


Navid DHSC Apr 15, 2019

Thank you for your detailed response, Emma. It’s great to hear that really enjoy working in the community. Your experience highlights the benefits of working in the community. A key task for us is to improve the visibility of the exciting career options in the community, such a district nurses. We are exploring different ways we could do this.