Community Specialist Practitioner (District Nursing) BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (1 year)

Cambridge, Chelmsford


To apply for this course you must already be approved to do so by your funding organisation. As it's work-based, the course is open to UK and EU applicants only


District nurses care for people in their home and in the community. If you’re already a qualified nurse, this course will develop your community nursing skills. You’ll learn to lead teams in delivering excellent patient-centred care, improve your caseload management and independent working skills, and gain a prescribing qualification.

Full description


When you graduate, you’ll be able to record your qualification with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Community Specialist Practitioner (District Nursing) with a prescribing qualification.

We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Employers will be impressed by the practical experience you gain on this course. You’ll have 120 days’ practical clinical experience under your belt, including a five-week consolidated practice placement. You’ll also have managed a small caseload under the supervision of your mentor, a qualified district nurse.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Fundamentals of District Nursing
    This module focuses on the essential aspects of the district nursing role, including the changing demographics within the 21st Century and in particular the growing ageing population living in community settings with complex healthcare. You will study caseload management of those living with long term conditions, supported by multidisciplinary teams. The module is aligned with both national and local policies supporting practice, compassion and quality of care in the community setting.

You will choose one of the following modules:

  • Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribing - see notes below
    Please note: If you have already completed a prescribing module that's recorded with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), your sponsoring Trust or healthcare organisation and the University may suggest you complete one of the optional modules outlined below. The Nurse Prescribing module will prepare you to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost effectively from the community practitioners formulary for nurse prescribers. The module is an alternative option to advanced non-medical prescribing.
  • Non-medical Prescribing
    Non-Medical Prescribing prepares you to prescribe medicines from the British National Formulary (BNF), within your area of competence, and to assist you in extending your practice. You’ll learn to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost-effectively, as both an independent and supplementary prescriber. Supervision and assessment from a designated GP or Nurse Practitioner is essential within this module in order to meet the 78 hours clinical practice requirement. The module will be undertaken with allied health professionals.

Year two, core modules

  • Leadership and Management in the Community
    This module will develop leadership and management skills to a strategic level, enabling you as a practitioner to deliver high quality patient care. The module will introduce practitioners to theories of leadership and management processes to support teams, including performance management and motivation. You will also reflect on integrating the values of courage and good communication and addressing the challenges organisational culture can present.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The undergraduate major project enables you to raise and address significant questions relating to your chosen topic/issue. You will be supported by a tutor with similar interests and research profile. This module requires autonomous study and it is your chance to demonstrate that you have met our University’s expectations and are ready to graduate.

Optional modules

  • Caring for People with Dementia
    If you have a professional interest in caring for people with dementia, or if you work in this area, our course will enhance your understanding and skills. You will learn person-centred approaches which are underpinned by respect for individuality, personal choice and family support. The module covers how changes in the brain can affect a person with dementia, and how dementia is assessed and diagnosed. Broader ethical and legal issues are explored, together with how contemporary research and policy issues contribute to best practice and service provision.
  • Clinical Assessment Skills for Health Professionals
    Professional, ethical and regulatory issues are inherent in the development of the health professional's role. This module offers you the opportunity to enhance your existing knowledge and skills through a programme that integrates theory and practice in order to acquire the competencies required to provide a same day consultation service for patients. Ongoing support and supervision is integral to the role development as is audit to ensure safe effective practice to plan future development.
  • Holistic Assessment Skills for Community Nurses
    This module enables you to develop systems-based assessment skills which are patient-centered and support accurate decision making, integrating the fundamental components of compassionate care. Holistic assessment skills incorporates the environment in which the patient lives and the environment in which care will be delivered. Supervision from a designated GP or Nurse Practitioner is essential within this module to achieve the relevant clinical assessment skills.
  • Integrated Care in the Community
    This module will help you develop the theoretical knowledge which supports the concept of integrated care, with opportunities to apply it to practice. This module is 50% theory 50% practice, the theory will be delivered online and you will work with your district nurse mentor for the practice. Subjects studied include: Care around the clock, the international perspective, history and political drivers for integrated working, multi professional working and how it benefits patient care, governance, the autonomous patient and communication.
  • Law and Ethics in Health and Social Care
    This module highlights the ethical and legal aspects related to your professional practice. There will be an analysis of legal cases and the statutory provision driving practice coupled with an exploration of current ethical issues, such as resource allocation and judicial review, issues of consent, death and dying and respecting life. The application of principles, theories and the legislative framework will be presented to you via reflective activities, case situations and scenarios, which will enable you to access their knowledge, trace their implications, refine their outcomes and evaluate the degree of moral justification they possess.
  • Management of the Person with Diabetes
    This module is intended to reinforce the concept of inter-professional and partnership working in diabetes care. Therefore, you’ll aim to develop a sound knowledge and relevant skills that incorporate all aspects of diabetes management, and be able to identify diabetes competencies applicable to your role either in a primary or secondary care setting. In addition, you’ll be in the unique position to both support the person to come to terms with having a long-term condition and empower them to make choices about the management of their diabetes.
  • Research Methodology
    You will learn to be analytical and insightful regarding research reports. You will gain an invaluable skill for anyone who wishes to provide effective and appropriate care in their individual sphere of practice. In addition, today's practitioner is required to work in a multi professional, multi-agency world which requires skills and insight into the efficacy of research. This module will revisit existing knowledge of the research process and assist you in further developing skills of critical analysis and ethical appraisal of published work.
  • Wound Management
    This module will help you deepen your clinical and technological understanding, enhance your patient-care skills, and advance your career prospects. You’ll focus on the healing of wounds at cellular level, enabling you to assess wounds arising from different causes within your own clinical setting. You’ll learn to critically appraise and make informed decisions about the use of different care strategies (generally and for individual patients) as well as advanced wound-healing technologies.

You will take one module from the above list. The choice will depend on modules you may have completed in the past and on availability. The course leader will discuss your options with you at the beginning of the course. Modules are subject to change.


You’ll learn theoretical and practical skills on this course – and we’ll assess you on both. Essays, examinations, case studies, poster presentations, a competency-based portfolio, and an extended literature review all help to demonstrate you’re developing the skills you need.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support our students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

This course is fully funded
Places on this course are fully funded by Health Education East of England and the sponsoring employers.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

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