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MSc/PgDip Specialist Practice District Nursing

Specialise in district nursing and primary care practice and take advantage of career opportunities in this area. Completing the postgraduate diploma enables you to meet all Nursing and Midwifery Council standards for the specialism and join the NMC register as a district nurse and nurse prescriber. The course comprises 50% practice and 50% theory to ensure your learning can be directly applied to practice.

Course length 2 Years
Location Collegiate Campus

Course description

If you are post-registration, completing the postgraduate diploma allows you to specialise in district nursing and primary care practice. You gain the knowledge and skills required to work with varied, and often vulnerable people, in the primary care setting.

You develop your expertise as an autonomous practitioner and leader with an evidence-based skills set that meets the challenges of contemporary practice. There are many opportunities within the course to share learning from your peers and other disciplines from across the primary care team.

If you complete the postgraduate diploma award you gain a Postgraduate Diploma Community Specialist Primary Care Nursing – District Nursing. You then have the option to complete a dissertation and graduate with an MSc Nursing (specialist practice district nursing). Please note additional funding is required for you to go on and complete a further 60 credit dissertation module for the award of MSc.

You complete a research-based module which potentially leads to the dissertation. This equips you to use policy and research to underpin and develop innovative practice and gives you the skills to frame a research question, take empirical research and write up an academic dissertation.

To meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards, your studies consists of 50% practice and 50% theory. We structure the postgraduate diploma to reflect the important balance of the practice elements, which are designated practice days or work-based learning. Consolidated practice enables you to work independently while remaining under the supervision of a practice teacher. The theoretical elements involve a mix of learning approaches including self-directed study days.

To gain the NMC recognised qualifications, you need to be sponsored by an employing organisation and have an appropriately qualified mentor or practice teacher allocated by the sponsoring trust to guide and assess your practice experience.

Study individual modules
You have the option to study individual modules from this course and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for more information.

Professional recognition

Successfully completing the course allows you to be on the NMC register as a
• specialist practitioner – district nursing
• community practitioner – nurse prescriber

Entry requirements

2017 entry requirements

To complete the course you need

• a nursing related degree (120 level six credits)

• current registration on part one (nursing) of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register

• normally at least one year's post-registration experience

• to be working as a community staff nurse working in a community team

• self-declaration of good health and character as required by the NMC

• to have successfully applied for a student district nurse NHS training post

• to have a sponsoring health care organisation and be employed by the NHS for the duration of the course

If you are shortlisted you attend a joint NHS and Sheffield Hallam Interview. You must bring original copies of your qualifications, certificates, NMC registration, course application form and references with you. This interview is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have the personal, NHS values based and intellectual qualities to complete the course and meet the required standards to become a district nurse.

You must show how you strive to improve health and wellbeing and peoples experience of the NHS.

You may also be able to claim credit points which can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your qualification at Sheffield Hallam. Find out more

Course enrolment professional requirements
Before enrolling, you must fully declare during the admissions process any
• unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings. For further information on convictions that must be declared see the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) website.
• disciplinary proceedings during paid or voluntary employment or educational establishments
• involvement with safeguarding proceedings, social services or related organisations

You also need to complete
• a DBS Enhanced Disclosure, and provide us with a copy of your DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate if requested. Enrolment also depends on the DBS check being deemed suitable for professional training.
• occupational health screening to determine your suitability to undertake the course and an approved programme of immunisation, as recommended by the Department of Health. Health screening and immunisation are provided by your employer.

If your personal circumstances change in relation to any of the professional requirements – from when you apply to the end of your course – you must tell the Professional Issues Team immediately by calling 0114 225 3995 or 0114 225 5786.

Course structure

Postgraduate diploma
• full time – forty four weeks

• full-time – two years

Start date
• PgDip – September
• MSc – September or January

Typical modules may include

Postgraduate diploma core modules

• person-centred primary care • evidence-based case management • behaviour change • transformational practice through leadership and management • practice learning • research methods for practice • nurse prescribing


• dissertation (60 credits)

  • critiques/critical reflection
  • reports
  • essays
  • objective structured clinical assessment/examination
  • examinations
  • portfolio including, prescribing workbook, reflection and practice assessment document
  • research
  • dissertation
  • e-activities (for distance learning)


As a graduate of this course your employment opportunities are wide ranging and interesting, offering an exciting and varied career pathway. The Specialist Practice District Nursing qualification prepares you for advanced roles in practice, management positions and work in various healthcare organisations.

Gaining the masters improves your employability in advanced and specialist roles available to district nurses such as team leader or case manager.

Further opportunities, usually with experience and/or further study include • complex case manager • community matron • tissue viability nurse • specialist nurse for example diabetic or COPD • services manager • educational link/lead • research nurse • research assistant • lecturer.


Home / EU student

Please note tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation. More information can be found in the ‘Tuition Fee Increases’ section of our Fees Regulations (PDF, 2.10 MB)

2016/17 academic year

Full time – typically £6,300 for the course

Some of the modules on this course may be funded by the Department of Health.

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are available across the majority of subject areas.

2017/18 academic year

The course and modules may be funded by East Midlands learning beyond registration or Yorkshire and the Humber - specialist and post-registration development funding

International student

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs information

How to apply

To apply for this course you must already be employed as a community staff nurse. You can apply for a student district nursing post through your trust/organisation or through www.jobs.nhs.uk

After you have been invited to an interview at an NHS Trust, you need to apply to Sheffield Hallam by completing the application form available at www.shu.ac.uk/study/form and then bring a hard copy to your interview.

University interviews are between March and June for students who have been successful at the NHS interview.

If you are self-funding visit www.shu.ac.uk/faculties/hwb/cpd/funding for more information.

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and student Regulations.

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