Meeting the policy agenda, part 1: The role of the modern district nurse

Caroline A.W. Dickson, Helen Gough, Heather Bain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The challenges posed by the current context of health and social care offer opportunities for different models of care delivery. District nursing has evolved, and continues to evolve to meet these challenges. The traditional reactive role of district nursing has developed as contemporary practice expects district nurses to meet both planned and unplanned care required by practice populations. Modern anticipatory care approaches to care are being adopted, while care and case management is being facilitated and delivered to patients and families with complex health and social care needs. Additionally, district nurses are recognizing the need to further develop management and leadership skills as the teams delivering care consist of a skill mix of nurses and other disciplines. They are also charged with evidencing the impact of what they do and influencing care delivery at every level of healthcare organizations. This first paper of two will explore the current UK policy context and ways in which district nursing services within each country are changing to meet the challenges posed. A second article will argue the need to ensure the district nursing workforce is underpinned by robust educational standards that ensure protection of the public. The influences of education and development from professional and organizational perspectives will be examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Community Nursing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • District nursing
  • Service development
  • UK health policy


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