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District Nursing Sister

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice
  • Public Health
  • Education

Area of Practice

  • Adult Nursing
  • Public Health Nursing


  • Community/Primary Care

Job/Role Summary

  • Responsible to 3 G.P. practices with a total population of 8-9000 dependant patients
  • General nursing assessment and care provision for a range of chronic and acute patients within this population
  • Promotion of independence for client groups and innovation of new strategies to promote patient independence e.g. continence programmes
  • Palliative care and maintenance of interventions allowing patients to remain in their homes
  • Coordination of my caseload and the services provided for those patients within the multi-disciplinary team


Specific qualifications and experience required

  • On NMC register
  • Professional qualification in district nursing
  • 2 years post-registration experience at grade E or above
  • 1 year's community experience


Career Milestones

Following my basic training I undertook a BSc in Health Studies at Queen's University Belfast. I wished to take the opportunity to gain my degree before I entered permanent employment. The course included modules in decision making, health promotion and community nursing. I then began my career as a 'D' grade staff nurse in a theatre/ recovery setting and for two years I worked within a team of nurses under the leadership of a sister who was quite authoritarian in her approach. It was her leadership that had a significant impact on my nursing career. I was able to develop many skills including use of patient controlled analgesia, central line management and catheter care. During this time I realized that my interests lay in community nursing and having secured a post as a staff nurse in the community I soon began to act up when required for the caseload sister I was assigned with. I decided to complete a specialist course in community nursing which helped me to develop my professional skills and reflect on practices I where I felt my competency required enhancing. During this time I was involved in setting up a warfarin clinic in collaboration with district nurses and treatment-room nursing staff. I am continuing to develop areas of interest such as my role as a teacher/practitioner. I am currently responsible for pre-registration students on placement in my area and have completed a number of courses to assist me with that role.


What attracted you to this job?

  • I found my pre-registration community placement very fulfilling
  • In this post I felt I would have an opportunity to build relationships with patients
  • I felt I would have the opportunity to develop nursing skills in a progressive area of nursing


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

  • Being able to build relationships
  • Working within a team
  • Job satisfaction in following patients through their illnesses and treatments, particularly in palliative care settings


Important success factors

  • Particularly in the first few years of my promotion, the support of my colleagues
  • Good working relationships with G.P.s and other members of the multi-disciplinary team
  • Good feed back from patients and families who face difficult periods in their lives


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

I feel that it is helpful to view community nursing as a specialty similar to working in a theatre setting or Intensive Care. It is an area that is currently developing and becoming very specialised and exciting. It is not necessary to have community experience to gain a junior staff nurse's post so if this is an area you are interested in try a move into a junior post first and decide from there. Use all your experience already gained to progress in seniority and take every opportunity to complete courses relevant to the specialty.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

  • Clinical skills such as intravenous administration of medicines; maintenance of PICC and Hickman lines; administration of subcutaneous fluids; skills in palliative care and symptom control
  • Management skills such as patient assessment; patient care planning; caseload management
  • Communication skills
  • Personal and professional maturity


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