Postgraduate Taught

District Nursing (Person-Centred Practice) - PgDip

District nurses make a difference every day to the lives of the people they visit at home or in a homely setting. This course is for Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registered nurses already working in, or wishing to work in the community as a district nurse.

This PgDip in District Nursing (Person-Centred Practice) course will allow you to gain the level of knowledge and skills required for working in the community in a district nursing capacity.

The course leads to a Specialist Practitioner Qualification with the NMC. It is delivered both full and part-time with start dates in September each year and is part of our Person-Centred Practice Framework.


Why QMU?

  • Specialist qualification: The course is validated and approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and leads to a Specialist Practitioner Qualification which is recordable on the NMC register.
  • Contemporary, creative and interactive learning approaches: The learning environment will generate an ethos of engagement where learners can explore and challenge theories, practices and different sources of knowledge creatively in an atmosphere of high challenge and high support.
  • Staff expertise and support: You will be taught by a team of academic staff who have clinical experience and expertise in district and community nursing, with many of the team annotated as SPQ DN on the NMC register. They have experience in senior strategic and clinical roles. Academic staff with the DN qualification act as Academic Assessors in line with NMC requirements for student supervision and assessment.   
  • Our reputation: We have a reputation at QMU for innovative curriculum design, being supportive and responsive to learners and extensive online resources.
  • Relevance: Our conceptualization of person-centredness is consistent with the WHO Framework of ‘integrated people-centred healthcare’.
  • Professional links: We are the Omega-Xi Chapter of Sigma Global, the only global nursing leadership organization and with partnerships, collaborations and networks across more than 27 countries.

District Nursing (Person-Centred Practice) - PgDip: More information and what you will achieve

District nurses provide increasingly complex care for people and support for family members. District Nurses, while autonomous practitioners, work as part of integrated teams to provide holistic person-centred care.

On completion of the course you will be able to, ‘exercise higher levels of judgement discretion and decision-making’ and meet the following core and specialist outcomes required by the NMC: clinical nursing practice, care and pathway management; clinical practice leadership; clinical practice development.

The course outcomes have been developed with the requirements of the NMC Standards of Specialist Education and Practice (NMC 2001), and on successful completion of the course you will be entered onto part 3 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council register as a Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (District Nurse).


How will I be taught?

Structure and exit awards

You can exit with a PgCert or PgDip. To achieve the qualification of SPQ, you must complete the PgDip.The PgCert PCP (60 credits) is awarded to learners who achieve at least 60 credits, but do not complete the full course.

You will also gain:

  • 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)

You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award. You can apply to study any of the modules within this course, except for Person-centred Specialist District Nursing Practice or Evidencing Specialist Practice in District Nursing. Contact Julie Churchill for more information on single module study.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course delivers theoretical and practical learning opportunities with a strong emphasis on self-directed learning.

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.

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. Assessment strategies will encourage application to practice.

For learners undertaking the NMC-recognised specialist qualification and registration as a District Nurse , the course is 50% practice-based and requires placement in an approved practice. To support learners in their practice learning environment they will be assigned to a Practice Supervisor and a Practice Assessor. Placement will be negotiated with your supporting NHS area.


The course is 50% practice-based and requires placement in an approved practice. To support learners in their practice learning environment they will be assigned to a Practice Supervisor and a Practice Assessor. 

Teaching hours and attendance

The course is NMC validated and leads to the Specialist Practitioner Qualification, and therefore the hours for theory and practice are stipulated by the NMC.

For both the full time and part-time routes, the theoretical component of the course is ‘front-loaded’ – that is, you will be participating in face-to-face and online learning substantially in the first semester [at least three days a week devoted to theoretical content]. In semester two the balance of theory and practice is essentially 50:50. Full-time learners in semester three will be in practice for an average of four days a week. Part-time learners in semester three will normally be in practice full-time, before beginning the V300 programme in semester one of Year Two. On the course you will experience a minimum of 925 hours of theoretic content [taught and individual student effort] and achieve a minimum of 925 hours of learning in practice.

Class sizes

Class sizes vary.

Teaching staff

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.


  • Theory and Practice of Person-Centred Health and Wellbeing (20 credits): This module facilitates learners’ explorations of some of the concepts, principles and theories underpinning person-centred practice in a variety of care settings and from a variety of perspectives: the prevention of ill-health, anticipatory care, and the promotion of health and wellbeing. By undertaking this module, learners will develop expertise in understanding and responding to the needs of person, families and communities in a way that is consistent with the theoretical underpinnings and the values of person-centredness throughout the lifespan.
  • Leading Person-Centred Practice for Health and Wellbeing (20 credits): The learner will gain a wider understanding of how different sources of evidence and knowledge contribute to the development, delivery and evaluation of innovative health and wellbeing practice when working with the person, families and communities, and of contemporary research consistent with the values of person-centredness. There will be a focus on leadership and collaborative ways of working, evidence generation and implementation of health and wellbeing approaches for healthful cultures.
  • Person-Centred Specialist District Nursing Practice (20 credits): The NMC Standards of Specialist Education and Practice (NMC 2001) and QNI/QNIS Voluntary District Nursing Specialist Education and Practice Standards (2015) underpin this module.  Learners will be encouraged to apply theory to specialist district nursing practice through a lens of person-centredness.  Content will be determined by the learner group through the lens of:
    • Person-centred Care and Case Management: Drawing on district nursing developing professional artistry, learners will critically reflect on their pre-requisites and person-centred processes to care, case and caseload management. They will explore this in relation to supporting patients, carers, families and teams, anticipatory care approaches to care management, principles of long-term condition management, care coordination, unscheduled care provision, e-health. Learners will be encouraged to engage in critical reflection/ reflexivity, using a range of transformative models e.g. Mezirow.
    • Leadership/management: Learners will engage in caseload management, caseload analysis and community profiling; safe staffing; methods. They will reflect on the development of self-awareness and leadership/management skills; working in integrated teams, working with 3rd sector organisations; having challenging conversations. Engaging with theories such as Theory U, learners will explore creating positive learning environments, within community contexts. Learners will engage with legal, professional and ethical frameworks relevant to their professional practice and consider political awareness and influencing.
  • Advancing Practice in Clinical Assessment (20 credits): The content of the module will focus on the evidence base of practice, developing the clinical competency of the learner to provide a systematic physical assessment.  This will incorporate patient history taking, assessment and management relating to the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastro-intestinal, renal and neurological systems as well as pain assessment and management.  Proactive care, supported self-management, professional accountability, care management, case management, inter professional working, problem solving and clinical decision making, long term conditions management will also be integrated into the learning within the module.
  • Independent and Supplementary Prescribing for Health Care Professionals (40 credits)*: The aim of this module is to prepare healthcare professionals to prescribe safely and competently within the context of their professional role as Prescribers. The requirements and outcomes of the module are derived from prescribing standards set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC 2018), and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC 2019). The module runs for 26 weeks, including 90 hours spent learning in practice.  Teaching days fall mainly in the first third of the module, but you will engage with QMU throughout the duration. The assessment strategies within the module include a drug calculation and numeracy exam, pharmacology exam, and academic written work. You will participate in a range of teaching and learning experiences both at university and in practice.   In keeping with the Person-centred Practice Framework philosophy, you are encouraged to participate actively and take responsibility for your own learning. Throughout the module your learning will be supported by our Virtual Learning Environment and our Learning Resource Centre where you can access a wide range of on-line learning materials, books and journals.
  • Evidencing Specialist Practice in District Nursing (non-credit bearing): This module enables learners to evidence their professional development to meet NMC (2001) Standards of Specialist Education and Practice and QNI/QNIS (2015) Voluntary Standards. It is a mandatory component of the course and can only be taken by students enrolled on this course of study.  
  • Leading Person-Centred Practice for Health and Wellbeing (20 credits)

NB The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2023) but are subject to change following a revalidation in Spring 2024 against the new NMC standards for Specialist Practice. It is likely that this will result in some changes to the course. Updates will be posted here when available.

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

Career opportunities

On completion of this course, learners are well-equipped to enter their new career as a district nurse. Job opportunities are good locally and throughout the UK.

District Nursing (Person-Centred Practice) - PgDip: Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

All applicants for District Nursing must be on part 1 of the NMC register Adult/ Children’s Nursing. 

It is recommended that applicants have:

  • completed a period of experience of sufficient length to have consolidated pre-registration outcomes and to have gained a deeper understanding in relevant professional practice;
  • have a degree and access to practice placement and Practice Assessor/Practice Supervisor. This is the responsibility of the sponsoring health board to arrange prior to commencement of the course.

Interview: Interviews will take place in collaboration with partner Health Boards.

Other requirements

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.

Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Applying for this course

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. Once you are notified of successful interview with your sponsoring health board, the deadline for applications to QMU will be shared with you.

Start dates

There are intakes in September each year. Partner NHS Health Boards normally advertise their recruitment opportunities around March – April for the September 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 contact Admissions Team for more information.

Terms and Conditions

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2024/25 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

More information and QMU contacts

Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

On campus at QMU, on placement, and with some online learning
1 year full-time or 18 months part-time
Start Date
September 2024
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding
SCQF Level

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