As policy directives gather pace for service provision to be delivered in primary care, district nursing has not been recognised as a valuable asset to facilitate this agenda. Investment in district nursing and specialist district nursing education has fallen. This is concurrent with an ageing district nursing workforce, a lack of recruitment and growing caseloads, as district nursing adapts to meet the challenges of the complexities of contemporary healthcare in the community. The district nurse role is complex and multifaceted and includes working collaboratively and creatively to coordinate care. Redressing the shortages of specialist district nurse practitioners with increased numbers of health care support workers will not replace the skill, knowledge, experience required to meet the complex care needs of today's society. District nursing needs to be reinstated as the valuable asset it is, through renewed investment in the service, research development and in specialist practice education. To prevent extinction district nurses need to be able to demonstrate and articulate the complexities and dynamisms of the role to reinstate themselves to their commissioners as a valuable asset for contemporary practice that can meet current health and social care needs effectively.
Bibliographical noteAcknowledgements to Dr Charlotte Ramage and Mrs Helen Stanley for writing support. Acknowledgements to Dr Kay Aranda and Dr Lee Price for academic supervision.
- District nursing
- Specialist practice