So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Provide nursing care for people in their homes within a community setting
- Work independently, driving from appointment to appointment
- Opportunities for progression into management roles
As a district nurse you'll visit clients on a regular basis, sometimes several times a day. You'll assess their needs, and plan and manage their care. Your clients will usually be older people with health problems, people with terminal illnesses, or people who are physically disabled.
- Administering drugs
- Checking temperature, blood pressure and breathing
- Helping doctors with physical examinations
- Giving injections
- Cleaning and dressing wounds
- Monitoring or setting up intravenous drips
- Providing emotional support and practical advice to patients and their families
- Teaching basic caring skills where needed
- You may also help run specialist clinics, like those for people with diabetes
- You might also carry out emergency procedures when a client has had an injury or a cardiac arrest
Evening and weekend work is common. You may also be on an on-call rota covering hours outside standard service times. You'll usually be based at a health centre as part of a community health care team. You'll usually need a driving licence as you'll spend a lot of time travelling in the area your service covers. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.
This role requires excellent observational skills to identify potential health problems, excellent communication and listening skills, tact, understanding, patience and sensitivity, the ability to teach others how to carry out routine nursing tasks, record-keeping and organisational skills.
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks for this role.
You need to already be a qualified registered nurse with 1 or 2 years' experience before applying for training for this role. Any branch of nursing is acceptable.
You'll complete a course in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - District Nursing, approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Your training will last 1 or 2 years and include practical community placements.
You might be able to do a district nurse degree apprenticeship, training with the NHS, and independent and private providers of healthcare services.
You could contact your local health trust or your employer about student training sponsorship opportunities.
You'll need to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council.
With experience you could lead a team of nurses or become a community matron. You could also go into general health service management or become head of community nursing. You could move into health promotion, research or education. You may also be able to find work overseas, especially in developing countries.