Do you have a burning desire to be a nurse, but you want to make sure you work closely with the same patients week in week out?
If that's the case, you might find that community nursing – otherwise known as district nursing – is the right job for you
Rather than working exclusively in a hospital or clinic, district nurses work in the community. This can mean going into a patient's home, residential care homes, or even prisons. How often you do this will depend on the patient and their needs. While some may need your attention just once a week, others might require several visits a day. As such, there's plenty of variety available, but you'll still develop that close nurse-patient relationship that's driving you into the district. How nurses can secure district nursing jobs Today, those who want to become a district nurse have to build on their current nursing degree to obtain an extra qualification. While you may be wondering why this training is necessary, it's worth considering how community nurses have to deliver consistently high levels of care, without the resources of a hospital being available. This essentially means you're the only one making the decisions, which requires extra levels of independent thinking and practice.
As a community nurse, you're also going to supervise a lot of other healthcare professionals. This means giving instruction to staff nurses and healthcare assistants, especially when it comes to visiting geriatric patients living in residential care homes. This not only requires you to be confident in making decisions alone, you also need to make sure you're a good leader who can pull a team together.
The additional training district nurses need to engage in is available at undergraduate and postgraduate level. These courses are known as specialist practitioner courses, and much like normal nursing degrees, they're 50% theory and 50% practice. This means you'll spend time shadowing another community nurse, usually alongside your existing nursing duties.
In some cases, district nurse training is self-funded. This is especially the case if you're working at postgraduate level. However, the NHS Jobs website may also advertise some sponsored positions. When they come along, take extra care while filling out your application. Such positions are highly competitive, which means you need to do what you can to stand out from the crowd.
Otherwise, once you're trained as a district nurse, you'll find that the majority of your employment opportunities come from the NHS. Again, this means looking at the NHS jobs site to see which positions are available. In some cases, you may find that you need to turn to agencies or private companies. Agency district nurses are especially well paid, as they're usually called out at the last moment to cover someone else's shift.
Once you have worked your way through all the training, and you've found a reliable source of employment, you'll be working in a highly rewarding career with plenty of room for progression.