Postgraduate Taught

PgDip Person-Centred Practice (District Nursing)

Do you want to build on your experience as a health care practitioner? Are you keen to develop an understanding of the knowledge and evidence that positively contribute to the health and wellbeing of persons, groups, and populations? Our innovative Person-Centred Practice (PCP) Framework offers a flexible suite of course routes that will give you a valuable, career-expanding qualification in person-centred practice.

With part-time and full-time options, the MSc/PgDip is for Registered Nurses already working in, or wishing to work in, the community in a district nursing capacity.

Why QMU?

Although the re-orientation of healthcare from hospital to community care has been the narrative for over 20 years it is only now that this is truly being realized (The Kings Fund 2019). Additionally, despite forecasting of the changing demographics of community nurses and the decreasing numbers of doctors being attracted into general practice, delivering services to people in their own homes is becoming unsustainable.
The implications for community nursing are the need to address capacity and capability and therefore there has been a rise in the number of learners on the SPQ District Nursing pathways in the past 3 years. The major amendments made to the pathway in 2017 were in response to Transforming Nursing Roles, the national review of district nursing undertaken by the Scottish Government (SG) (SG 2017). This review influenced the inclusion of advanced physical assessment and Non-medical Prescribing (V300) into the SPQ District Nursing Pathway. Since that time, the pathway team have been working with service partners to ensure the practice context is prepared to support learners in the achievement of the relevant competencies. These modules (particularly V300 Non-medical Prescribing) have also attracted large numbers of nurses, midwives and AHPs with a community focus to their practice, to study at QMU.

  • You will engage with contemporary, creative, and interactive learning approaches that are designed to help you thrive in your studies.
  • You will learn from passionate and internationally renowned person-centred practice academics including Professor Brendan McCormack and Professor Jan Dewing.
  • Flexible pathways, allowing you to personalise your learning to your own situation.

Learners within the SPQ District Nursing pathway will exit having met the NMC standards and proficiencies (NMC 2001; 2018). Although the current SPQ standards remain the original standards from 2001, there are new Standards for Prescribing pathways (NMC 2018) and competencies (Royal Pharmaceutical Society 2016) which are embedded within the curriculum design. We currently offer two intakes per year for both SPQ District Nursing, and the prescribing pathways.

The MSc Person-centred Practice Framework is aligned with Queen Margaret University’s mission statement:

“Our mission is to foster intellectual capital with both a theoretical and practical focus, giving learners and staff the confidence to make a real difference to the world around them. We are known not only for excellent, relevant teaching, research, and knowledge exchange but also for the care and respect we give our learners, staff, and partners. As a thriving campus university, we strive to create a community without borders, helping to improve people’s lives locally, nationally, and internationally. We are ambitious and enterprising, and, in everything we do, we are committed to social justice.”

Course overview

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registered nurses already working in, or wishing to work in, the community can undertake a specified group of modules that allows them to achieve a community qualification or registration recognised by the NMC in District Nursing.

There are three core modules that enable you to obtain a PgCert in Person-Centred Practice. You will then study further modules to achieve a Pg Dip Person-Centred Practice (District Nursing).

The routes in the Person-Centred Practice Framework seek to influence and enable the transformative processes of personal and professional development through engagement, facilitation and evaluation of person-centred teaching and learning approaches.

The Framework is innovative and interactive, emphasising application of theory to your practice context. It will enable you to critically engage with, evaluate and synthesise the evidence and research to promote the development and enhancement of person-centred culture and practice. This develops a pro-active, transformative, and reflective approach to meeting the public health and social needs of individuals, families, groups, and populations.

There are two intakes a year: September intakes offer a full-time programme over 52 weeks: January intakes offer a part-time programme over 15 months/65 weeks.


Exit awards

PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching, learning and assessment Our teaching, learning and assessment strategy is framed by our core philosophical concepts of personhood, person-centredness, human valuing, healthful relations, human potential and development, and supportive and enabling environments. Central to this strategy is the need for learners to engage in the learning experiences, a readiness to listen and explore, preparedness to be open to experiences and a resolve to keep going. This environment will generate an ethos of engagement and where learners can explore and challenge theories, practices, and different sources of knowledge creatively in an atmosphere of high challenge and high support.

We achieve this learning environment through a focus on three pillars of learning activity, namely:

  • Learner-centered experiential and collaborative learning
  • Reflexivity and critical discourse
  • Sustainable and ethical evidence-based teaching.

Learners will be supported to challenge their thinking, values, and beliefs — through the posing of complex activities and questions — and develop resilient and sustainable approaches to their learning and practice in response to these. Critical to this process is the use of diverse knowledge, scholarly inquiry processes and evidence-informed materials to engage and enliven the processes of learning.

By creating an environment where learners and teaching staff engage in mutual learning, our approach is facilitative and consistent.  We create learning environments where all persons feel engaged and able to commit to humanist and transformational learning processes, both in the classroom and online. 

Assessment strategies will encourage application to practice. This will be achieved through the use of varied strategies which draw on the learner’s own areas of practice such as portfolio development, practice proposals, annotated bibliographies, simulation events, games, seminar presentations and self-determined contextual assignment topics. Tutor, peer, and self-assessment, including within virtual environments (e.g. HUB@QMU), will be an important component of approaches to formative and summative assessment.

For learners undertaking the NMC-recognised specialist qualification and registration in District Nursing, the course is 50% practice-based and requires placement in an approved practice with a Practice Supervisor, and a Practice Assessor. Placement will be negotiated with your supporting NHS area.

The course is 50% theory and 50% practice based. Your attendance at QMU will depend on the module selected.

The theory aspects of the programme will be delivered on the QMU campus and through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Hub@QMU

There are two intakes a year: September intakes offer a full-time programme over 52 weeks: January intakes offer a part-time programme over 15 months/65 weeks.



Links with industry/ professional bodies

Students undertaking the Specialist Practitioner Qualification in District Nursing or registration as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN) gain accreditation with the NMC.


PgCert Person-centred Practice (60 Credits)
  • Theory and Practice of Person-centred Health & Wellbeing (20 credits)
  • Leading Person-centred Practice for Health and Wellbeing (20 Credits)
  • Advancing Practice in Clinical Assessment (20 credits)
PGD Person-centred Practice (120 Credits)
  • Person-centered Specialist District Nursing Practice (20 Credits)
  • Independent &Supplementary Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals (40 credits) 
  • Evidencing SpecialistPractice in District Nursing(overarching, practice-based portfolio)
MSc Person-centered Practice 
  • Successful completion of 120 credits (as above)
  • Masters Dissertation project 60 credits

Please check the entry requirements for the Independent and Supplementary Prescribing for Health Care Professionals which is an NMC approved qualification, requiring an up-to-date Criminal Records Check.


Single modules for CPD

If you are looking to complete a stand alone module prior to applying for the PgDip Person-Centred Practice (District Nursing), you can register as an associated student and apply to the MSc Person-centred Practice course noting that you wish apply to undertake one of the following single modules:

  • Independent and Supplementary Prescribing for Healthcare Professionals (40 credits)
  • Advancing Approaches to Clinical Assessment (30 credits)

Contact Bill Lawson for more information.


The course is 50% theory and 50% practice based.
You must have access to a practice placement, a Practice Supervisor, and a Practice Assessor


Graduates have taken up advanced specialist practice and leadership roles within their specialist field of practice.

Entry requirements

All applicants must:

  • Be Registered Nurses (Part 1- Adult) with the NMC.
  • Have completed a period of experience of sufficient length, being a minimum of one year, to have consolidated pre-registration outcomes and to have gained a deeper understanding in relevant professional practice.
  • Have access to practice placement, a Practice Supervisor, Practice Assessor and Academic Assessor with due regard.
  • Criminal Records Check: For learners undertaking NMC approved qualifications a satisfactory criminal records check will be required. Compliance with the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) and mental health legislation for clinical placement and employability in statutory services, for work with children and in other sensitive areas of employment.  

In line with the university policy of seeking to offer opportunities to candidates regardless of their personal background and level of educational attainment, the pathway team will promote entry to the pathway for all learners. Practically this means that the pathway team will consider:

  • Applicants who have obtained an undergraduate general degree level qualification but can demonstrate a period of substantive work experience (e.g. internship, management experience)
  • Candidates who have no formal degree level qualifications but can demonstrate substantive professional experience and suitable CPD outcomes.
  • Applications for non-standard entry will be assessed by the Pathway Team and will be based on the following criteria:
    • Evidence of appropriate work experience and supporting CPD activity which maps against the SCQF level descriptors for level 11.
    • A statement of what the applicant has learnt from the above activity, showing how the learning has been at the equivalent of SCQF level 11.
    • Evidence of motivation to study at master’s level.
    • Supporting references.

It may be appropriate for applicants without academic qualifications to be admitted initially as an associate learner. Should they be successful in their first module as an associate learner, they may then transfer to the full pathway.

English language requirements

Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.

Application deadline

Applications must be made to both QMU and the NHS Board. Monitor the NHS Jobs website ( or contact the relevant manager at your Health Board for more information.

NHS Lothian

Information is not yet available

NHS Fife

Information is not yet available

NHS Borders

Information is not yet available

More information and contacts

Contact Admissions or Julie Churchill on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000

Associate learner places

Associate learners can apply to study any of the modules within this programme, except for Person-centred Specialist District Nursing Practice, and Evidencing Specialist Practice in District Nursing.

Professional registration / accreditation

Specialist Practitioner Qualification Community Nursing in the Home (Nursing and Midwifery Council)

Independent and/or Supplementary Prescribing for Health Care Professionals (Nursing and Midwifery Council V300)

Awarding body

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Please Note:

  • The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).
  • There are intakes in September and January each year. Partner NHS Health Boards normally advertise their recruitment opportunities around March – April for the September intakes, and Aug – Sept for the January intakes. Joint interviews are normally held between partner Health Boards and QMU.  You will be required to submit an application to both your NHS Health Board and QMU.  Please visit our application area on the QMU website: or contact our Admissions Team:


Course Overview

At QMU and on placement
Full-time: 1 year (September start)/ Part-time: 15 months (January 2021 start)
Start Date
September 2020
January 2021
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding

Related Professional Bodies