District nurse

nurse (district) community nurse

Career outlook for district nurse

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would visit people with health conditions or disabilities in the community to assess their needs and treat them.

You’d go to see people in their own homes, in care homes or GP surgeries. Your support would mean that people may not have to go into hospital or that they can get out of hospital sooner.

Your patients are likely to be:

  • older people with health problems
  • people with terminal illnesses
  • people who are physically disabled

You would go and see them regularly, sometimes several times a day.

You’d assess and respond quickly to their needs. You’d plan and manage their care. You’d find out more about their situation and circumstances by talking with patients and listening to them patiently and sensitively. You’d anticipate and identify potential health problems.

You would:

  • Administer drugs
  • Check temperature, blood pressure and breathing
  • Assist doctors with physical examinations
  • Give injections
  • Clean and dress wounds
  • Monitor or set up intravenous drips
  • Provide emotional support and practical advice to patients and their families
  • Teach basic caring skills where needed

You could be involved in running clinics, for example, for people with diabetes.

You could also carry out a range of emergency procedures, for example if a patient has fallen, had an accident or a cardiac arrest.

You would work for the National Health Service. The salary for this role is covered by the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates. You can see information about the pay and conditions on the District nurse page on the NHS Careers website.


Working conditions


Evening and weekend work is becoming increasingly common, and in many services you will work a shift between 8am and 8pm. You may also be on an on-call rota covering hours outside standard service times.


You would usually be based at a health centre, as part of a community health care team.


You are likely to travel extensively within the geographical area your service covers.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Cooperating
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Evaluating
  • Problem solving
  • Empathising
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.


You need a degree in nursing (SCQF level 9/10).

Training to become a district nurse involves taking a (shortened) degree or postgraduate programme leading to registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse - District Nursing (course titles may vary).

To enter a nursing degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires National 4/5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers at C or equivalent qualifications such as a relevant HNC/HND or Scottish Vocational Qualification in Healthcare Support (SVQ level 2/3).

Some universities allow advanced entry to the second or third year of a nursing degree with a relevant HNC/HND. 

You could also enter a shortened graduate nursing programme with a relevant degree in another subject.

An Access to Nursing course may also give entry but check with the establishment that they accept this prior to applying.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Maths (required by many courses)
  • Science subjects, in particular biology or human biology (required by many courses)
  • Care

You will also need

Once qualified you will need: 

  • To register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland
  • Complete a medical examination to ensure you are physically fit.

You must provide evidence that you do not have, and have been immunised against, Hepatitis B.

You will need a driving licence.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that offer experience in the health, care or science sectors such as:

  • Health and Social Care (SCQF level 6)
  • Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5)

may be of value when applying to courses. 

Relevant work experience.