PgDip Community Specialist Practice (District Nursing)

This programme aims to prepare you to use your discretion and judgement to make high-level clinical decisions in the leadership and provision of quality care. Focusing on the co-ordination and provision of holistic approaches to healthcare, it offers you the opportunity to positively influence healthcare delivery in the community, and influence your own development needs.

PgDip Community Specialist Practice (District Nursing)

Course details

If you want the chance to make a difference in community healthcare, apply for the University of Bolton’s Postgraduate Diploma in Community Specialist Practice (District Nursing). Approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and developed in line with the NMC’s Standards of Specialist Education and Practice and the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI/QNIS) Voluntary Standards for District Nurse Education and Practice, this course aims to equip you with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to develop and influence community nursing services.

Working in a multidisciplinary team, you’ll be supported to complete core content that covers the topics of public health, innovation in healthcare management and leadership, critical evaluation for evidence-based practice, the principles of district nursing and non-medical prescribing (V100), as well as take on an elective module that you’ll select in conjunction with your employer.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore policy and legal frameworks, learn more about collaborative and proactive working, and use self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems. Course content is designed to be relevant to your current and future roles, and you’ll be expected to apply your knowledge in practice though clinical, educational and public health interventions that demonstrate the relevant skills and sensitivity.

  • Start date: 23/09/2019
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: PgDip
  • Duration: 1 year

Course highlights:

  • Designed to promote flexibility, this course has also been developed to respond to policy developments and the demands of the changing healthcare climate.
  • Our teaching staff have many years of experience in the NHS and in a variety of settings.
  • You’ll have access to our 24/7 virtual learning environment, WiFi across campus and both group and one-to-one support.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to study in our innovative health teaching and research facility, Bolton One.
  • On successful completion of this course you will be awarded a PgDip in Community Specialist Practice (District Nursing).

Key features:

  • This course is completed on a combined theory and practice basis, and your time will be divided equally between the University and the practice setting.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to work with colleagues from a range of specialist backgrounds for a multidisciplinary approach to learning.
  • The course curriculum is developed around the Standards for Specialist Education and Practice and the Standards for Prescribing as set out by the NMC.
  • We work in partnership with NHS England and with local NHS trusts.

Entry requirements

  • Start date: 23/09/2019
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: PgDip
  • Duration: 1 year

You must have an active entry on Part 1 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Professional Register.

You’ll also need at least 120 credit points at Level HE4, 120 credit points at Level HE5, and 120 credit points at Level HE6, or AP(E)L equivalent (see explanation below). For instance, you may have an Honours degree or an Ordinary degree plus relevant experience.

You must also have one year's post-registration experience of professional practice.

You’ll be required to produce satisfactory professional and academic references, pass Occupational Health screening and a DBS.

You’ll be required to successfully complete an online numeracy test, unless you already have a current Nursing and Midwifery Council recorded prescribing qualification.

Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L) information – are considered when deciding on any advanced standing to which you may be entitled. This may be based on qualifications you’ve already gained (Accreditation of Prior Learning – APL) or it may be based on making a claim for significant work experience (Accreditation of Prior Learning – APEL). The process of granting you appropriate advanced standing will be overseen by the programme lead for this course and an AP(E)L panel. When making a claim for APL against a relevant academic module you’ll be required to produce evidence in your professional portfolio that demonstrates how your prior learning relates to your impending role as a community specialist practitioner in district nursing.

AP(E)L for exemptions from modules in this course – NMC Standards permit no more than a third of a programme to be credited on the basis of prior learning. Any applications for accreditation of prior learning will be considered prior to admission, on an individual basis, by the APL panel. Claims need to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes in theory and practice as defined by PgDip Community Specialist Practice (District Nursing) module specifications.

This course involves regulated activity so you must gain an Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before starting your studies. Charges are payable to cover the cost of the DBS Enhanced Disclosure application and annual registration with the online Update Service. (Normally your sponsoring organisation will organise this.) Please note that your DBS must have been completed within three years of the course start date. Find out more

You’ll be required to attend an interview and provide a portfolio of work evidence.

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 7.0 with normally no less than 6.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

You’ll have the opportunity to develop skills of critical reflection and learn to adopt a rigorous approach to planning and evaluation of care and care programmes, as well as employing a range of clinical, educational and public health interventions in a skilled and sensitive manner. You’ll also be supported to undertake care and programme management and provide leadership within appropriate team situations. In addition you’ll be encouraged to examine factors that promote or inhibit effective collaborative working.

Furthermore, you’ll be guided to display the values required in modern healthcare, such as compassion, advocacy, good communication and teamwork skills, and respect for patients’ privacy, dignity and individuality.

What can I do with this qualification?

This course provides training for community specialist practitioners in district nursing. On successful completion of the PgDip, you’ll have your name recorded on part 1 of the NMC's professional register as a Specialist Practitioner (DN) and a nurse prescriber within the context of district nursing. Opportunities arising from this qualification include professional posts in community health care settings and supporting the management of out of hospital care.

After qualifying and gaining some experience, there are a variety of routes you could take as the next step in your career. You could lead a team and, with experience, you could progress to community sister/matron or work in community palliative care. Some nurses decide to go into management or clinical academic research.

On successful completion, you’ll also be invited to enrol onto the part-time MSc Community Health Care Nursing (Top-up) for District Nurses.

Alternative career options

  • Teaching and education
  • Public health
  • Health care management
  • Armed forces
  • Clinical research
  • Health promotion
  • Occupational health
  • Overseas aid and development
  • Prisons
  • Holiday companies
  • Charity sector
  • Medical communications
  • Medical writing
  • Counselling
  • Mental health

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

No fee information is currently available, please contact Student Data Management on 01204 903059 or for more information

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

Before you commence the online application please read the Application Guidance Notes.

You should also ensure you have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Critical Evaluation for Evidence Based Practice
  • Exploring Public Health
  • Community Nurse Prescribing (V100)
  • Professional Practice (District Nursing)
  • Innovation in Health Care Leadership and Management
  • Clinical Examination Skills
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
  • Contemporary Mental Health
  • Contemporary Approaches to Dementia Care
  • Multidisciplinary End of Life Care

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching staff on the PgDip Community Specialist Practice (District Nursing) course use blended approaches to learning that combine direct and online techniques. The aim of these combined methods is to extend your previous professional practice education so that you can develop, contribute to and improve the quality of community health nursing.

To reflect the NMC’s Standards for Specialist Education and Practice, this course splits theory and practice learning equally. During lectures, you’ll be introduced to the relevant theory of your field, which will be built on via seminar discussions, presentations, simulations delivered by tutors, group workshops and tutorials. In the practice setting, a programme of learning and experience will be developed by an appropriately qualified and experienced practitioner – a sign off practice teacher/sign off mentor – who will also responsible for assessing your competence.

You’ll also be expected to spend time using the virtual learning environment, Moodle, where you can utilise learning resources like podcasts and video presentations, and regularly engage in self-directed study like preparing for seminars and reading around your subject.

Assessment takes various forms, including essays, reports, portfolios, critical reflection, presentations and exams, including Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE). The assessment strategies used may differ depending on the module and its intended learning outcomes.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (24%), Written exams (6%)
Level Two Coursework (70%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (5%), Placement/study abroad (8%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (5%)
Level Two Guided independent study (19%), Placement/study abroad (42%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (22%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
  • Duration:
    1 year

Contact us

Helen Lord
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903722

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903