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Rising number of students taking district nurse specialist practitioner qualification

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There has been a 5% rise in DN SPQ students There has been a 5% rise in DN SPQ students

There has been a 5% increase in the number of new students enrolled on District Nurse Specialist Practitioner Qualification (DN SPQ) programmes compared to the previous year, a new report by the Queen’s Nursing Institute has found.

According to the QNI’s seventh annual Report into District Nurse Education in the United Kingdom, here were 693 new students who commenced a DN SPQ Programme in 2018/19, an increase of 34 students (5%) on the 659 new students in 2017/18. Of the 693 new students in 2018/19, 527 were full time and 166 were part time. Additionally, 518 DN SPQs qualified in 2019, compared to 500 in 2018. This represents an increase of 4% newly qualified DN SPQ.

‘It is extremely encouraging to see the increasing numbers of nurses who are undertaking the DN Specialist Practitioner Qualification, in all parts of the United Kingdom,’ said Dr Crystal Oldman, the QNI’s Chief Executive.

‘The survey shows that the vast majority of provider organisations require team leaders to hold the qualification, which acts as a guarantor of safe and effective patient care, leadership and management, in a highly complex and autonomous clinical environment. As the demands on District Nursing teams continue to grow – including with new challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic – the need for proper preparation of District Nurse team leaders has never been keener. In addition, 738 nurses entered the District Nurse programme in 2019/20, demonstrating an almost threefold increase since the QNI annual audit began in 2013.’

Other findings revealed by the report show that there are 42 universities in the United Kingdom approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to offer the DN SPQ. The number of universities offering the V300 Independent Prescribing course as part of the programme has remained constant at 15 in 2018/19, and 85% of university respondents had mapped their programmes to the QNI/QNIS Voluntary Standards for District Nurse Education and Practice.

‘While the DN SPQ course is popular and relevant for nurses and their employers – and, crucially, supports them to give the high-quality healthcare that people in their own homes require – the funding arrangements of courses, particularly in England, have led to concerns within universities,’ added Crystal Oldman.

‘The funding of the DN SPQ is a complex and evolving negotiation between central government and local providers. In particular, we hope to see more clarity about the implementation of the Apprenticeship route in England in the coming months.’

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