• Apprenticeship scheme should be approved later this year
  • Employer-funded route offers alternative way to qualify as district nurse

The standard for the district nurse apprenticeship has been given the green light, bringing the training route a step closer to operation. 

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has approved the apprenticeship standard – a set of criteria of skills and attributes an apprentice will need to qualify – for an employer-funded route to a district nurse qualification.

A “trailblazer group” – which included representatives from nursing education charity the Queen’s Nursing Institute, and a community healthcare trust and GP confederation in Leeds – was tasked with developing the standard and has been working with employers and training organisations over the past two years. 

The new standard will be ready for delivery once the IATE has approved the apprenticeship scheme’s endpoint assessment, a final test for new apprentices to make sure they can do the job they have trained for.

The scheme should clear that final hurdle later this year, according to a statement from the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

The charity’s director, Crystal Oldman, said the long-term plan placed emphasis on the importance of delivering care in the home and recognised district nurses “are the practitioners who will lead, manage, coordinate and deliver complex care, working autonomously within their communities”.

Dr Oldman added: “Given the recent doubts about continued funding from Health Education England for the district nursing specialist practitioner qualification, the new apprenticeship offers an alternative funding model for the qualification of district nurse, alongside but not replacing the existing funding model.”