How to apply

The potential apprentice will be required to complete an Initial Needs Assessment (INA) with the support of their employer and the University to ensure the apprenticeship programme is an appropriate solution to their skills development needs.
The employer should or can request the Initial Needs Assessment by emailing
Applications for September 2023 are now open!
INA Submission deadline is Friday 30 June 2023.

Apprentices do not pay any course fees – costs are covered by the government and/or employer

Funding models for employers

We can support employers in accessing funding via the apprenticeship levy or provide alternative funding options to minimise or eradicate any up-front cost to the organisation.

There are currently two funding models:

  • Fully-funded: Levy paying organisations
  • Co-funded: Non-levy organisations and levy who have exceeded their levy contribution.


If the annual pay bill of your organisation exceeds £3 million you will pay for your apprenticeship training through your levy account. If you have exceeded your levy contribution you will fund apprenticeship training through the co-funded model – to better understand how this will work please contact us.

  • Employer contribution: Employee salary only
  • Apprentices contribution: £0.


If you are a non-levy paying organisation (the annual pay bill of your organisation is less than £3 million) or you are a levy organisation who has exceeded their pot, the government will financially co-support your apprenticeship training – they will contribute 95 per cent of the costs and the employer will contribute five per cent.

  • Government contribution £10,450
  • Employer contribution £550
  • Apprentice contribution £0.

Entry requirements

  • Entrants must be registered nurse (Level 1) and have a minimum of one years post –registration experience
  • Entrants must possess the competence, experience and academic ability to study at the required level of the programme
  • Entrants should have completed study at Level 6 or higher within the last 5 years*
  • All applicants must preferably hold Level 2 Maths and English at entry – if evidence of Maths and English is not in place at entry the apprentice will be required to undertake Functional Skills. Functional Skills will be scheduled to be undertaken in the first year of the apprenticeship programme. The CAH will liaise with the apprentice to co-ordinate and facilitate FS training and tests to successful completion
  • Students will be required to be working in a community setting that will facilitate the successful completion of the programme learning outcomes and achievement of a minimum of 600 hours district nursing and community practice.
  • Applicants where English is not the first language must also provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English in accordance with the University’s Admissions Code of Practice, that is, IELTS of 7 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each part.

In order to commence the programme, the student must meet the University’s entry requirements for study at postgraduate level. Applicants will normally have a first degree, BSc (Hons) at 2.2 or above; or European first cycle equivalent plus a professional qualification in health or social care. Those individuals without a degree but with appropriate practice related experience relevant to the programme may be eligible to apply. Candidates without a first degree at 2.2 or above (or European first cycle equivalent) will normally be required to submit a short piece of writing as part of the admissions process. It is necessary to assess the potential student’s ability to study at Masters Level and therefore an interview will be necessary

Claims for credit for prior learning, whether certificated or experiential are considered and if suitable accepted for Recognition of Prior learning, following University regulations and Faculty procedures.

Offers are subject to a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

Overview of modules

Year one:

Foundations of Community Nursing

This module explores skills of advanced and complex holistic assessment, therapeutic relationships and enhanced communication skills, exploration of the wider determinants of health and health promotion theory and it’s application. Also revision of the pathophysiology and nursing management of common illness, for example diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease.

Advancing Practice in Context

This module will enable the student to develop their professional understanding within advancing practice, allowing them to consider the legal and ethical boundaries, the working environment and the complexities of their area of practice specialty.

Advancing Assessment for Clinical Practice

This module will enable experienced practitioners to undertake a systematic and structured history taking assessment alongside a physical examination in order to integrate advanced assessment findings into clinical decision making.

Emphasis will be on developing an understanding of systems and patho-physiology when seeing and managing patients with undiagnosed and undifferentiated presentations across healthcare settings

Year two:

Independent and Supplementary Non-medical prescribing

The aim of this module is to advance the development of health care professionals, enabling the understanding of wider influences and principles of prescribing, in order to practice safely and effectively within their scope of professional practice.

Contemporary Leadership and Management in Community Nursing

The aim of this module is to advance the development of community nurses to implement effective leadership in the community setting, including case-load, work-load and work-force management. It will critically explore the role of leadership and clinical governance, including, and enable them to provide quality care. Looking at approaches to team development and education and practice development. Wider socio-political, ethical, professional influences on community health care delivery.

Assessment will include:

  • Examinations
  • Clinical Examinations and Viva
  • Presentations
  • Coursework
  • Practice Portfolio
  • Reflection
  • Distance Learning
  • End Point Assessment.

Who is the course for?

The programme is aimed at registered adult nurses with a minimum of one year’s post–registration experience who wish to develop their knowledge, skills and practice to perform in the role of Specialist Practitioner District Nurse awarded by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.


This contemporary postgraduate apprenticeship route provides an alternative, flexible entry into the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) District Nursing (DN) programme, enabling the apprentice to study for a work-integrated postgraduate qualification whilst remaining in salaried employment. On successful completion apprentices will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the recordable Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ), District Nurse.

The PgDip DN programme has been designed with close collaboration between key stakeholders including students, clinical representatives, academics and patient/service users, families and carers. Reflecting the constant changes within the community healthcare environment whilst building on existing good practice the programme has been designed to take into account strategic and professional changes. It aligns with regional health care employers’ strategic objectives and goals around workforce planning and the Institute for Apprenticeships District Nurse Occupational Standard.

On successful completion of the programme apprentices will be eligible to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the professional recordable qualification of Specialist Practitioner District Nurse. They will undertake an End Point Assessment to achieve the Apprentice Standard District Nurse.

Course facts

Duration: Two years
Hours of study per week: Approximately 20 per cent of the programme is theory. This equates to around one day a week over 45 weeks.
Delivery type: A blended approach to learning with face to face study days and highly directed online study resources
Other key facts: Apprentices will remain as part of the workforce and continue to contribute to patient care whilst working towards their qualification.
Programme specification 

Areas of specialisms

Medicine on medical form with stethoscope and pen

Core skills

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge and critical awareness of current problems and new insights, informed by the forefront of district nursing professional practice
  • Skills of enquiry and research
  • Coaching and teaching, Enhanced communication skills
  • Decision making skills in complex and unpredictable situations
  • Leadership and management skills, prioritisation of individual and team work-load and case-load management
  • Advanced systematic history, consultation and physical assessment skills
  • Prescribing skills
  • Fluency and confidence in the performance of the clinical skills associated with the provision of community care.

Benefits to the employer

  • Potential to access funding through the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Flexible study option, the programme has been designed with employer stakeholder representatives to meet employers’ needs.
  • Provides a clear development pathway for community nurses to enhance quality of care.
  • Fill predicted shortages by growing your own talent and enhancing skills and knowledge.


Benefits to the apprentice

  • Contemporary, high quality programme in alignment with national healthcare policy and professional bodies
  • No course fees for the apprentice enables the apprentice to study for a work-integrated postgraduate qualification whilst remaining in salaried employment.
  • Benefit from inter-professional learning opportunities and enhanced opportunities to develop integrated care.

District Nurse Staff