The NHS continues to face great reform (NHS Confederation, 2017), and the balance of care is shifting from acute to primary care (Department of Health and Social Care, 2019). A vital role in community services is that of the district nurse. District nursing has been around long before the birth of the NHS, yet a day in the life of a district nurse is steeped in mystery and myths. The values and beliefs that inspired district nursing from the beginning still drive practice today: the importance of keeping people at home where they want to be; the relationship between nurse and patient as the prime therapeutic tool; the need to work with the whole family and carers as a unit; the importance of expert assessment and care, both clinical and social; and the need to promote coping and independence, both practical and psychological, while delivering person-centred care. District nursing is often described as the ‘glue’ of the entire community care system.
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