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District nurse: a lifeline that must be treasured

02 December 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 12

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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