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District nurse specialist practitioner course numbers up

Rise in community nursing programme numbers reflects demand for advanced skills, says QNI
Picture shows a district nurse checking medical supplies in her car

Rise in popularity of community nursing programmes reflects demand for advanced skills, says QNI

A rise in the number of nurses seeking to obtain a district nurse specialist practitioner qualification (SPQ) reflects the importance employers place on the qualification, says Queens Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman.

An SPQ is a postregistration qualification nurses can obtain in a variety of specialisms, and indicates that a nurse has a set of knowledge and skills enabling them to work at an advanced level in that area. A QNI report says 738 new students joined district nurse SPQ programmes in the UK in 2019-20, up 45 students, or 6.5%, compared with the previous year.

QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman

Safe and effective patient

Rise in popularity of community nursing programmes reflects demand for advanced skills, says QNI

Picture shows a district nurse checking medical supplies in her car
Picture: Neil O’Connor

A rise in the number of nurses seeking to obtain a district nurse specialist practitioner qualification (SPQ) reflects the importance employers place on the qualification, says Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman.

An SPQ is a postregistration qualification nurses can obtain in a variety of specialisms, and indicates that a nurse has a set of knowledge and skills enabling them to work at an advanced level in that area. A QNI report says 738 new students joined district nurse SPQ programmes in the UK in 2019-20, up 45 students, or 6.5%, compared with the previous year.

Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman
QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman

Safe and effective patient care, leadership and management

The report was based on a QNI survey of the 42 UK universities approved to offer the district nurse SPQ programme. It obtained reponses from 37 of them, though one is no longer offering the programme.

Dr Oldman said: ‘The survey shows that the vast majority of provider organisations require team leaders to hold the qualification, which acts as a guarantor of safe and effective patient care, leadership and management, in a highly complex and autonomous clinical environment.’

Preparation for district nurse team leaders

Dr Oldman said: ‘As the demands on district nursing teams continue to grow – including with new challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic – the need for proper preparation of district nurse team leaders has never been keener.’

The district nursing SPQ is one of five similar qualifications the Nursing and Midwifery Council intends to rework into a single qualification by 2023. The other four are SPQs in community children’s nursing, community learning disability nursing, community mental health nursing and general practice nursing.


Find out more

QNI report: District Nurse Education in the UK 2018-19


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