MSc Specialist Practice (District Nursing)

Entry year
Course code
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Glenside Campus
Two years full-time; three years part-time.
Full-time; part-time; starts September
Programme leader
Alison Hughes

This course is open for applications

Page last updated 8 January 2024


Developing your leadership and influencing capabilities, you'll build the confidence to shape and enhance community nursing practice, and gain the skills to inspire and lead large nursing teams. You can choose to complete the course to PG Dip or MSc level.

Why study district nursing?

Working in the community, district nurses lead nursing teams to provide care and support for patients with a variety of acute and long-term health conditions.

Many employers require nurses in team leadership roles to hold the district nurse qualification.

An opportunity to take your career to the next level, it's also a chance to build your leadership skills and play a more strategic role in how care is delivered in the community.

Why UWE Bristol?

MSc/PG Dip Specialist Practice (District Nursing) is a professional practice programme for registered adult nurses working in the community and aspiring to move into team leader grade roles.

Once you have completed the programme to PG Dip level, you will be eligible to claim the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) specialist practitioner qualification in District Nursing.  

You can then continue to full master's level if you wish, to continue your development and take your learning that step further.

With outstanding onsite facilities, and a 50/50 split between theory and practice-based learning, you'll gain the strong academic and practical grounding you need to practise competently and confidently as a district nurse.

Learn from a highly experienced team of community nurses at UWE Bristol, with a depth of knowledge across many areas, including advanced clinical practice, research and education.

Develop the higher level critical thinking skills that come with master's level study, as well as strong skills in decision-making and leadership.

You'll be equipped to lead, plan and evaluate care in complex and unpredictable contexts, and to lead teams effectively and confidently.

Highly relevant to the changing landscape of community nursing, the course will deepen your understanding of current issues, and help you take a more strategic and political view of the care you and your teams provide drawing on policies, literature and evidence that influence your care delivery. 

We place a strong focus on nurturing positive relationships with team members and other colleagues, disciplines and agencies, and working in partnership with service users and carers to develop user and family-centred holistic care.

You'll evaluate knowledge relating to change and service improvement, and put forward your own ideas for initiating and leading service developments.

Completing the course full or part-time alongside your work, and studying at a pace that suits you and your organisation, you'll put what you learn into practice in your work, supported by your own mentor.

You'll graduate as an independent and self-critical practitioner, able to question and challenge practice, and well equipped to lead and manage teams of nurses to provide effective evidence-based care.

Where can it take me?

NHS employers increasingly require band 6 community nurses to hold the NMC recordable specialist practice qualification (SPQ) in district nursing. You'll achieve this by completing the course to PG Dip level.

You can then continue to master's level to take your learning and career further, carrying out your own research on an area of practice that interests you.



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Compulsory modules:

  • Current Issues in Community Practice
  • Health and Social Care Research and Methodologies
  • Leadership and Innovation
  • V100 Prescribing Practice
  • Community Specialist Practice
  • Dissertation*

Plus one optional module from OR two if your completing the MSc:

  • Physical Assessment and Clinical Reasoning
  • End of Life Care
  • Advancing Practice in Long Term Conditions
  • Complexities of Caring for Older People
  • Principles of Dementia Care.

*To achieve the MSc you must take the Dissertation module.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you. 

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different. 

Learning and Teaching

A mix of lectures, seminars, student-led sessions and clinical skills practice will maximise your learning and support you to develop as a self-directed, reflective practitioner.

'Action learning' is key, so you'll work in small groups to unpick different issues relating to care delivery, and formulate and present your own solutions.

Learn from a team of highly experienced community nurses at UWE Bristol, many of whom retain links with practice and can share the latest research with you. 

Completing the course alongside your current work, you'll be supported by a suitably qualified mentor / practice teacher within your organisation applying what you learn to your own practice and bringing your experiences into the classroom.

Work with other health professionals on selected modules, building on the inter-professional and interpersonal skills that are essential to district nursing.

Develop your knowledge of current issues in community practice, prescribing, the latest evidence and research, and leadership and innovation.

Learn about research techniques, critical appraisal and evaluation, and draft your own research proposal. If you continue to master's level, you'll then write a dissertation based on your proposal.

Hone and develop your clinical and leadership skills in our advanced Skills Simulation Suite.

Choose extra optional modules to suit your development needs and the needs of your organisation, whether that's physical assessment and clinical reasoning, end of life care, dementia care, caring for older people, or long-term conditions.

Develop the strong critical thinking and leadership skills that will give you a solid foundation as you progress and evolve in your career. You'll also produce a practice portfolio you can take with you, providing valuable evidence of your learning.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

The academic part of the course runs on a modular basis. You'll study for at least 32 weeks, made up of 16 weeks of theory and 16 weeks of supervised practice within your organisation.

Available as a full or part-time course, you can work at a pace that suits you and your employer.


We'll assess you using a mixture of essays, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), exams, presentations and your practice portfolio.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

PG Dip / MSc Specialist Practice (District Nursing) leads to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) recordable specialist practice qualification (SPQ) in district nursing.


To consolidate your learning and development, as part of the final module you'll be based in another area within your own organisation.

During this time you can also choose to take a week's elective placement. It's an opportunity to visit an area of practice you're interested in, whether that's a community nursing team in a particular area, or another healthcare organisation or service. It's an optional placement and it's up to you to decide how best to use it, to enhance your development.

Study facilities

You'll be based at our Glenside Campus, where you'll benefit from the latest facilities, including our advanced Skills Simulation Suite, where you can practise on mannequins and hone and develop your clinical skills.

Glenside has one of the best healthcare libraries in the country with a huge selection of books, journals, audio-visual materials and specialist health and social care software.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Nursing and Midwifery facilities and see what's on offer here for you.


Postgraduate support

Our support includes access to fantastic facilities, study tools and career consultants, plus practical help to access everything from funding to childcare.


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We provide support in the way you need it.

Campus and facilities

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Careers / Further study

NHS employers increasingly require district nurses to hold the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) recordable specialist practice qualification (SPQ) in district nursing. You'll achieve this by completing the course to PG Dip level.

You can choose to continue to master's level if you want to take your learning further, carrying out your own research on an area of practice that interests you.

You'll be equipped to lead teams of nurses in the community, and to work in more senior district nurse roles. You will be sought after for your leadership skills, strategic thinking, and ability to manage large teams of nurses in challenging and complex environments.

The prescribing module means that as a graduate, you'll also be qualified to prescribe from the Nurse Prescribers Formulary for Community Practitioners.


There is currently no published fee data for this course.

Supplementary fee information

Payment for this course is per module, whether you are studying for the full Masters course or individual modules as CPD.

See our health and applied sciences professional short course fees.


How to apply

You will be required to apply for each module, whether you are studying for the full Master's course or individual modules as CPD.

View our professional short courses to apply.

For further information