Challenges and opportunities: the role of the district nurse in influencing practice education

Ashworth, Lisa (2020) Challenges and opportunities: the role of the district nurse in influencing practice education. British Journal of Community Nursing, 25 (8). ISSN 1462-4753

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The responsibility of the district nurse (DN), alongside complex case management and leadership, is to ensure Specialist Practitioner Qualification District Nurse (SPQDN) education continues to create practitioners delivering quality evidence-based care. DN leadership and its importance have come to the fore during the COVID-19 crisis, where hospital discharges have increased rapidly to make way for highly complex admissions (HM Government, 2020). This paper examines the importance of the SPQDN qualification, exploring the role of the DN within practice education. Continuation of the vital DN qualification will ensure that the numbers of qualified DNs increase, ultimately protecting community capacity. With a move towards an apprenticeship model to achieve the SPQDN, DNs must engage with and influence curriculum development to confirm courses deliver requirements of the workplace, commissioners and the 2019 NHS Long Term Plan. Expectations of the DN role within practice education have changed, moving away from the practice teacher standards to the new Nursing and Midwifery Council Standards for Student Support and Assessment. This poses new challenges in DN education in practice. The implications of this transition threaten to de-value the quality of the assessment process by removing the high standards of preparation previously demanded; ultimately, this is a risk to the provision of the quality practice education that previously existed.

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