A day as a district nurse

District nurses are just one of the types of nurses who work in the community, rather than in a hospital. As a district nurse, you may work in many different locations around the community, but your time will be spent mainly in people's own homes. A typical day might start at 8.30 am when you drive to a residential care home in your area. Your first task is to test the blood of a resident with diabetes, and inject him with insulin. You then treat another resident with a minor head injury, checking the wound for infection and applying the appropriate dressing. For your next visit, you drive to the home of an elderly, disabled woman with asthma and mild hearing difficulties. You ask her how she is feeling, check her breathing and pulse rate, and gently syringe her ears. When you leave the house, your patient is feeling comfortable, and pleased to be able to hear better than before your visit. Your day continues as you visit other housebound patients, and carry out the necessary nursing activities. You enjoy working in the community, and providing vital care to vulnerable people, some of whom would need to be in a care home or hospital if there were no district nurses.

Does this sound like you?

You're well organised, confident and able to take responsibility in difficult situations. You're also very resourceful and like the idea of working in the community, and in particular, in people's homes.

What's next after GCSE?

Although there are no minimum entry requirements for nursing, you'll usually need at least five A-C grades at GCSE (or the equivalent), preferably including English and science. You'll then need to go on to study A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications).

What's next after A level and beyond?

After A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications) you'll need to apply for a three-year nursing degree course. Different universities will have different entry requirements - check prospectuses to see the sorts of subjects and grades you'll need. To work as a district nurse, you would also then need to complete a specialist programme in district nursing.