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QNI: Qualified district nurses should be “recognised as informed leaders”

A new report has reaffirmed the invaluable role that district nurses play in the community.

This role becomes even more important when they have the Specialist Practice Qualification (SPQ), and these nurses should be “recognised as informed leaders in a position to influence policy,” the report urged.

“With the increase in complex care requirements in the community, there is an even greater emphasis on having an appropriately qualified leader of the local district nursing service,” it said.

This was also supported by Sir Muir Gray, director of Better Value Health Care who has worked with district nurses throughout his career.

“In my work on value based healthcare I often say that a district nurse visit is always and unequivocally high value,” he wrote to the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman recently.

However, problems arise in demonstrating this value. There is “a distinct lack of comprehensive, primary, published research to evidence the value of the SPQ DN [district nurse],” and students undertaking the qualification should be tracked to identify their developing skills and the impact of this on the patients, families, carers and communities they serve, the report stated.

The report, funded by the Department of Health, concludes that the SPQ is a worthwhile qualification and calls for more research to demonstrate the value of SPQ DNs.