A district nurse works with patients in their own homes as well as in health care centres and long term residential care facilities. The district nurse works to ensure that patients can avoid lengthy stays in the hospital by providing treatment and services to them before they enter the hospital. Patients typically include the elderly, those who might have disabilities or suffering from chronic, long term, or terminal illnesses. The district nurse not only assists the patient with his or her health care plans, but they also focus on helping family members understand how to nurture and care best for the patient.
The daily tasks of a district nurse are varied and are directly related to the patient’s needs and care. Since a district nurse has already attained his or her nursing degree, they also handle many nursing tasks including giving medications, monitoring vital signs and functions, administering IV drips and watching them closely, and helping families provide care to patients.
A district nurse balances managerial tasks with practical nursing functions and will also ensure that the patient’s records are being maintained and up-to-date. It’s important that those who wish to be a district nurse have great communication skills and know how to empathize with patients as well as their family members. For patients who are dealing with long-term illnesses, it can be difficult to express the level of pain they are experiencing. A district nurse should have excellent observation skills and be able to determine the best course of treatment to provide comfort for his or her patients. A district nurse often works as part of a team with other social service agencies and health care professionals.
Flexibility is one of the most important qualities that a district nurse must possess. Since a district nurse might be required to work both late night and day hours. District nurses must ensure that they are ready to meet the demands of being on call and ready to assist patients as needed.
District nurses must already have nursing diplomas and many have already obtained a nursing degree. Each employer might have their own additional requirements needed, so make sure to check these requirements before applying. Since district nurses have already obtained a degree, many start off earning a yearly salary between £24,000 and £32,600 a year. This salary can increase if the district nurse furthers his or her education and becomes a team manager, as a manager can typically expect to earn up to £38,300.