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I'm a District Nurse. Ask me anything.

20 replies

lilac26 · 15/06/2019 20:45

Might be slow to reply as also a parent to 2dc who always need something urgently if I have my phone in my hand!

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tonian · 15/06/2019 23:31

Is it true there used to be many many more district nurses than there are nowadays?

lilac26 · 16/06/2019 07:13

Yes, it's true. A combination of an ageing workforce reaching retirement age, staff retention problems across all nursing posts, and career development. Of my cohort of 11 who qualified in 2015 there are just 3 of us still practising as District Nurses.

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nrpmum · 16/06/2019 07:16

What is your most, and least favourite part of the job?

tonian · 16/06/2019 22:26

Thanks.., How much is the salary and what are the hours?

How do you qualify to be a District nurse?

lilac26 · 17/06/2019 16:25


My least favourite thing about doing this job is looking back to as little as 5 years ago when we were able to give the holistic care we trained to deliver. I think the difficult times took a while to filter through to primary care but they've reached us now.

Most favourite, hard to choose. I love being able to contribute to the development of my team and seeing the enthusiasm and commitment they bring. I am privileged to be able to be involved in people's end of life care where although we cannot make them better or prolong their life we can make sure what they have left is spent comfortably in their own home, if that is their wish, with their family (supported by us also) around them.

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TwinsTrollsandHunz · 17/06/2019 16:30

Ahh, I loved being on the district. I do a different specialist community role now but my favourite bit of district was end of life and doing legs. Mostly because those were long visits and you could actually give proper care and spend time with people actually NURSING not just performing tasks on them.

lilac26 · 17/06/2019 18:20


First of all you need to be a registered nurse. The qualification (Community Specialist Practitioner) takes a year full time at university and for nurses with a diploma is at level six, with a degree as well as the professional qualification. For nurses who already have a degree in nursing it is done at level 7 and the have a post graduate diploma as the academic part of the qualification.

The course can be full or part time and nurses are usually sponsored / seconded by their organisation. I attended college 2 days a week and spent 2 days a week in practice with my Practice Teacher (DN with teaching qualification), staying with the same Practice Teacher for the whole year. It was a 12 month course, not an academic year and the sponsoring organisation paid full time Band 5 for that year.

District Nurses are generally paid at Band 6, this is currently £30,401 - £37,267 pa.

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Teachermaths · 17/06/2019 18:22

I think you're all lovely.

Do you love visiting women who've just had babies? I had a DN a few times when I had an awful c section wound. They all loved seeing the baby and said it made a real change.

Wolfiefan · 17/06/2019 18:23

How has the role changed over the years?
Sorry I know that’s a massive question.

KennDodd · 17/06/2019 18:25

What's the most gruesome thing you've had to deal with?

cptartapp · 17/06/2019 18:32

I was a district nurse for almost 14 years but swapped to practice nursing when they introduced a 'shift system', and they wouldn't accommodate set working days.
That aside, knowing what you do, and the strain on community services, staff shortages etc, would you choose to die at home?

cakeandchampagne · 17/06/2019 18:36

When you first began your nursing education, is this the type of nursing you were most interested in/intended to do?

KatnissMellark · 17/06/2019 18:40

What's the worst house you've ever been to?

OhMyGodTheyKilledKenny · 17/06/2019 18:46

What's the one task that you really don't like doing on visits?

lilac26 · 17/06/2019 19:09

I'm glad you had a good experience with us, and sorry about your wound complications. I love C-section woundcare as I get to see cute babies and excited new mums 😀 .

I do struggle with it a bit though as what with smoky houses and chronic wounds I always feel a bit too grubby and germy to be on the presence of babies. We usually arrange our visits so we get to people like new mums while we're still clean!

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lilac26 · 17/06/2019 20:21


I take it we don't need to go back to 1859 when it began?

Thinking about my time in the community since 2002...

We used to have more time to spend with our patients and less we needed to do with them. We used to pick up and accept referrals for all sorts of things, there was no particular criteria. As time has gone by we (community nursing) have had to become strict about only delivering the services the commissioners have bought from us. And this is hard, especially as the gaps in what we provide may not be met by anybody else.

For the same reason we have had to become more strict about only visiting housebound patients. That means those who only get out for medical appointments and require hospital transport to do so. They are those who are seen at home by their GP. (End of life are an exception, if they manage to go out somehow we say that's great, we'll see them another day Smile). This is really hard, as there is obviously a world of difference between being able to be taken in a car by family to the hairdresser once a month and getting to the local surgery three times a week for a dressing. With no buses, no money, frailty, and family members in precarious employment without the freedom to nip out of work for an hour to take them.

I think we have upped our game clinically. I remember a scenario in my interview when I first came into the community, it was about a poorly patient. I said I'd do a set of observations and they laughed at me ' not out here you wouldn't '! Now I would not dream of contacting a GP without a set of obs!

I could go on forever and ever but for now I apparently have to help one dd tidy her room and watch Oliver with the other.

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Wolfiefan · 17/06/2019 20:25

Sorry. I aprreciate it was a huge question and get you can’t go back that far!! Grin I guess I’m thinking of the 60s kind of era. Lots of travelling etc.
It’s such a vital role and seems worryingly underfunded and unappreciated. (Like a lot of the NHS TBH.)
Thank you. From people like my FIL who had cancer, diabetic relatives with mobility issues. Dressings needing changing and sometimes being the only person that patient may see that day. Flowers

lilac26 · 17/06/2019 21:11

Ken Dodd
Most gruesome thing... the funny thing about nurses is they can tolerate most things. The classic is how enthusiastic we are about how great a wound is when a non nurse would likely faint. However the flip side is we all have our personal Achilles heel! Mine is eyes. I struggled somewhat but maintained a suitably cheery poker face when I picked up an eye drop for another team but the poor chap only had one eye and the drop was for the empty socket! I mean, I'd totally rather be in my position than his but it was close to the edge of what I can do.

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moralminority · 18/06/2019 07:55

My auntie was a district nurse for many years and I remember her telling me that she had noticed there were clusters of illnesses in certain areas. In her head she called certain streets MS street, cancer street etc. May have been coincidence but I thought it was very interesting. Have you noticed any clusters of illnesses like this?

Panashe3 · 16/08/2019 15:53

I’m attending an interview for Dn training soon and have been asked to prepare a 15min presentation on the following,
“The Department of Health have set out their recommendations for the future of District Nursing, how do you think this could be implemented as a new District Nurse?”

I’m kindly asking for your assistance so l can prepare for the interview. Any other tips for this interview are welcome. Thanks in advance 😊

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