The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) and QNI Scotland (QNIS) are urging district nurses to respond to their consultation on developing voluntary standards for the role, and ensure the Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) is suitable for contemporary practice.
The consultation is being launched after the QNI finalised draft proposals to update the existing standards. A 2013 survey by the organisation found that district nurses did not feel the NMC standards, which have not been updated since 1994, reflected district nurse education and practice.
The introduction to the report states that 'the purpose of this consultation is to get a 'sense check' that the QNI/QNIS voluntary standards reflect both the contemporary and future requirements of the district nurse and, as far as possible, take account of the future strategic developments or influences over the next five to 10 years.'
Some of the requirements for district nurses included in the updated voluntary standards include the demonstration of a range of specialist district nursing skills, the ability to assess the needs of patients with multiple co-morbidities, and the capacity to manage the mental health needs of patients and their families in conjunction with general practice staff and mental health specialists.
The standards also emphasise the district nurse's role in promoting public health, with requirements relating to encouraging behaviour change in patients with unhealthy lifestyles, and collating data to create a community profile of the local area.
The draft standards were created after the QNI conducted a literature review, a survey of all universities offering the SPQ, and held focus groups with stakeholders across the UK. The consultation will close on 23 June, with the final standards due to be completed in September.
The survey can be accessed at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WFHBCG6