How to Become a District Nurse

Updated April 17, 2017

District nurses play a large and important role on any health care team. They will often make visit to patient homes or residential care homes to support both the patient and their families. District nurses also teach patients how to care for themselves along with the help of family members. District nurses help hospitals keep their admissions to a minimum by helping patients return home as soon as they can.

Obtain a college education. In order to become a district nurse, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in nursing. While four years of secondary education is needed, five years is preferred. Subjects to study in school, aside from nursing, include English, chemistry, biology and math. You'll also need three years of clinical experience as a registered nurse. Work experience in areas such as surgery and geriatric care are encouraged. Certain employers will expect district nurses to have at least three years of postgraduate experience in nursing.

Receive on-the-job training. For those who haven't yet got postgraduate work experience and training, certain areas and employers will provide an entry program for recent graduates instead of requiring previous work experience. All new district nurses will receive somewhere between two and 12 weeks of orientation. A nursing background in rest homes, clinics and hospitals are useful for district nurses. Regardless of educational and work background, several skills are still learnt and honed on the job.

Expand your knowledge. Aside from the prerequisite education, work experience and on-the-job training, district nurses can widen their skills by taking additional courses and workshops. This is a great way to stay up-to-date with current nursing procedures and treatments, as well as brand new products that are just coming out. Also, district nurses can work toward additional postgraduate qualifications and specialised areas of nursing.

Familiarise yourself with the geographical area that you cover as a district nurse. Understand and grasps the specific needs of your area, as well as the cultural make-up of your community.

Hone your personal skills when it comes to be resourceful and adaptable. District nurses are employed in a variety of places and don't always have hospital resources available. Be organised, confident and able to cope with challenges.


Training programs for district nurses are called specialist practitioner programs. They usually last at least one academic year, or 32 weeks, and can be taken on a part-time or full-time schedule.

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About the Author

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.