District nursing, also known as community nursing, provides health care within a community, usually to those in their own homes or in residential care. A district nurse is responsible for all aspects of the patient’s care — assessment, planning, and management. Patients of district nursing may be of any age, but are usually elderly. Many have been recently discharged from the hospital, are terminally ill or suffer from physical disabilities. A district nurse often provides support for a patient following surgery.
District nurses most often care for house-bound patients. They also provide care in other non-hospital settings such as outpatient surgery centers and long-term living facilities. The care that district nursing provides within in the home setting allows patients to maintain their independence or helps the patient to become more autonomous in their lives. District nursing care also enables quick response to problems in order to avoid hospital admissions and to speed the return home from the hospital.
The levels of care performed by district nurses varies greatly. Some duties they perform in care for these patients include wound dressings and cleanings, catheter care, temperature checks, blood pressure, respiration rates, administer eye drops, give injections, and distribute of routine medications. Sometimes these duties require specialized care, such as with diabetes, stoma, continence, palliative care and intravenous therapy. District nurses are also prepared to determine a patient’s need for disability appliance provisions such as rails and ramps.
Outside of health care treatment, the district nurse can offer support, education and referrals. They educate about basic health care skills and encourage self-care or educate the family how to care for their relative. Emotional support is provided for the patient, family and significant others. District nurses may also assist the patient in application for welfare benefits and grants.
Want to become involved in district nursing? You will need an advanced nursing degree, RN to BSN degree, or LPN to BSN degree. Or you can learn more about these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing
» Master of Science in Nursing