District nurse

nurse (district) community nurse
Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

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

Hours

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.

Environment

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

Travel

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

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Being tactful
  • Helping people to learn
  • Working on your own
  • Planning and organising
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

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.

Qualifications

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
  • Social studies such as psychology

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:

  • Skills for Work Health Sector (SCQF level 4/5)
  • Health and Social Care (SCQF level 6)
  • Laboratory Science (SCQF level 5)

may be of value when applying to courses. 

Relevant work experience.