By: Michael Stapleton 29th October 2015

How To Get Into Community Nursing

Are you interested in becoming a community nurse? There are lots of good reasons why you may be drawn to the profession. Typically working in local clinics, GP surgeries, residential care homes and out in the community, community nurses enjoy a hands-on caring role which really makes them feel part of a local area.

Also known as district nursing, the role brings nurses into contact with an extremely diverse range of people and health conditions. If you enjoy versatility, problem solving and meeting new people from all sorts of backgrounds, community nursing could be a great professional fit for you.

Ready to embark on a career as a community nurse? We’ve put together a helpful guide so you can get started. Whether you have no experience, training or relevant education, or are already a working nurse but want to make a move into a community role, this guide will explain which qualifications you need, how to find community nursing roles and which boxes you need to tick to launch your new career trajectory.

Starting from scratch

Individuals can get into nursing and become a registered nurse (RN) at any time of their lives, however, recent changes imposed by Government mean that all RNs will soon need a degree qualification in order to practice in the UK.

  • Becoming a registered nurse
    If you want to become a community nurse, you must first qualify as a registered nurse by undertaking a nursing degree. There is a wide range of degrees available at universities across the UK, from general nursing studies degrees, to more specific degrees in areas like mental health nursing and child nursing. If you plan to become a community nurse, a more general nursing studies degree is recommended but not essential.
  • Applying for a nursing degree
    The qualifications you will need in order to be accepted onto a nursing degree vary widely depending on the course and the university you choose to study at. While more prestigious courses and institutions will require AAB at A level with at least one science or social science subject, other entry requirements are far less demanding. The minimum level of qualification you will need is five GCSEs and two A levels.
  • Further qualifications
    Once you have become a registered nurse, you will usually need two years of nursing experience in order to enrol on a shorter degree or postgraduate course which will qualify you as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse. Job and course titles may vary so do your research and get in touch with your prospective educational institutions to discuss your next step.
  • Funding qualifications
    This second round of training can be completed on a full or part time basis. In some cases you will need to fund your study from your own pocket, but there are options which will allow you to study and earn a salary by working under supervision. Local health trusts and private employers may also offer opportunities for student sponsorship, so ask around and keep your eyes peeled – the NHS job board is a good place to start.

Switching career paths

If you’re already a registered nurse and would like to make a move into community nursing, you’ll need to undertake a short degree course or postgraduate course to qualify as a district nurse. These courses are also known as specialist practitioner programmes. Please see above for more information. You’ll need to have two years of experience as a nurse in order to apply.

Not every registered nurse will need to achieve a specialist qualification in order to make the jump – often nurses transition into community nursing roles by proving they have the skills and aptitude to take on the job. In many cases, however, a qualification is necessary and will open doors which may otherwise have been closed to you.

Are you looking for a new role as a district nurse? Our nursing recruitment specialists can help.  Contact the Seven Nursing team today to start the search or browse our job board to find fresh vacancies.