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BSc (Hons) Specialist Practitioner Qualification (District Nursing)

  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: One Year
  • Start Date: January and September 2024
Led by a team of highly skilled Specialist Practice Lecturers who have strong links with the wider nursing community, this NMC-approved programme will help give you the skills you need to be able to inspire and lead community teams with gravitas.
We strongly believe in the importance of working in partnership with people with lived experience. We collaborate with Experts by Experience and invite them into the classroom to share their story with authenticity. This helps you to reflect on your impact on patients and families as well as understand the landscape of health from the patient and carer’s perspective.

Why study this subject?

District nurses perform vital work, caring for housebound patients in their own homes and keeping them out of hospital for longer. By studying at specialist practitioner level, you will gain the insights and skills to be able to lead teams of district nurses effectively and make your mark in this rewarding field.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

This BSc (Hons) Specialist Practitioner Qualification has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and is an integrated programme. Graduates will be able to record their qualification with the NMC as a Specialist Practitioner (District Nursing) and Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber.

This programme will enable you to learn the skills and underpinning knowledge that you will need to become a Specialist Practitioner in District Nursing. By combing 50% academic theory and 50% clinical practice, you will be able to become a highly skilled Reflective Practitioner and leader.

The programme will support your development in critical thinking, decision-making and leadership. You will gain the knowledge and confidence to be able to challenge practice and to think politically and strategically about the care provided within the community setting.

You will benefit from an excellent standard of teaching provided by staff from the University and practice, in partnership with our NHS Trust partners. As well as this you will be taught by lecturers who have a wide expertise in the field. Our lecturers also maintain close links with practice, ensuring that the programme is up-to-date with modern practice.

We offer continuous support throughout the programme, and you will receive personal tutoring and benefit from a high level of research within the teaching team. Your personal tutor will help guide you through your studies, support you with your academic development and give advice when needed.

Highly regarded by students and practice partners for our teaching in this area, BNU has a strong reputation for its health visitor and school nurse training. You will work with highly skilled academics, who have worked in Health and Social Care.

What facilities can I use?

We have a range of state-of-the-art facilities for you to access, including our Nursing Simulation Labs, multistorey library and IT suites. Students will be able to access our full range of support services, including the Learning Development Unit for skills and study support, the Careers and Employability Team, Student Finance Team, Accommodation and Counselling Services.

What will I study?

This specialist course covers key aspects of current district nursing practice, from mental health across the lifespan and long-term conditions, to effective caseload management and self-care. Developing your skills in managing and leading people, you will also learn to take a more strategic view of the way healthcare is delivered in the community, drawing on the latest research, ideas and policy.

How will I be taught and assessed?

This course covers all the areas needed to meet the NMC professional requirements for district nurses.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • understand the complexities of working in a community setting
  • better appreciate strategic influences on policy
  • take a critical approach to nursing care in the community, with a strong emphasis on providing holistic, evidence-based care to patients in their homes
  • analyse how decisions about care are made, drawing on relevant research
  • work at the forefront of caring for people with a range of healthcare needs, including highly complex ones.

The course makes use of a range of flexible learning and assessment approaches, to ensure you learn in the way that suits you best. We will be looking, in particular, at how well you apply the theory to your own nursing and leadership practice.

You will benefit from strong support throughout, with personal and link tutors at the University, and a practice teacher supporting you to learn in your trust.

As well as spending half your time in practice, case study-type simulations will allow you to explore the kind of issues you will face as a district nurse. You will also work closely with students from other community nursing courses at BNU, building your experience of working in a multi-professional way.

By the end of the course, you will have developed the higher level of skills and knowledge you need to become a leader in this specialist field of nursing. Your e-portfolio will provide evidence of this, to validate your learning with the NMC.

Study this course full time for a year. You will spend two days a week at university and two days a week in practice.

Useful Information

BSc (Hons) Specialist Practitioner Qualification Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

The academic criteria for admission to this programme are normally a diploma (120 credits at level 5) in nursing. However experienced nurses who have at least 60 credits at level 5 will be asked to provide evidence to the programme team of their ability to study at level 6.

This evidence will be a piece of written work related to their prior experience. The NMC professional requirements are for applicants to be entered on the appropriate part of the NMC Register.

Applicants will be a level 1 nurse and have a qualification in child or adult nursing, and have completed a period of experience of sufficient length to have consolidated pre-registration outcomes. This will be assessed at application and interview.


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Year 1 Modules

Developing Specialist Community Practice (DN)

Approaches to Research in Practice

Managing Complex Health Needs in the Community Setting

Innovation and Leadership in Community Nursing

Mental Health Across the Lifespan

Community Palliative Care

Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing V100

Clinical Decision Making for Non - Medical Prescribing Nurses/ midwives and allied health professionals

Applied Pharmacology for Non-Medical Prescribing

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2023 - 2024: £9,250 per year
  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £9,250 per year
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2023 - 2024: £15,000 per year
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £15,150 per year

Additional course costs and financial support

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.
You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing


As a graduate of this course, you will be well equipped to advance your career as a team leader in district nursing. You could also become a community matron or go into other roles such as managing community services, or practice or academic teaching.

Course leader

A head shot of a smiling Sarah Thirtle stood face on looking directly into the camera
Sarah Thirtle
  • Senior Lecturer
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Annette Palmer
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Carole Trespaderne
Carole Trespaderne
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Susan Perryman
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