The role and responsibilities of a community nurse

Monday, March 20, 2023

The role and responsibilities of a community nurse can provide a long-lasting career for qualified registered nurses looking to apply their skills outside traditional hospital settings. Community nurses deliver bespoke care to individuals in their homes and local communities, preventing hospital admissions and reducing pressures on public health services such as the NHS.

If you are interested in community nursing roles, below you can read further details on the common duties and responsibilities of a community nurse, the skills and qualities they obtain in their careers and the steps to take to become a community nurse.


What is community nursing? 

Community nursing is a type of care delivered to children, adults and the elderly in their own homes and local communities by registered adult and paediatric nurses. Often working in small teams or alone, community nurses support clients with a range of healthcare needs including brain injuries, spinal injuries, learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions.


The daily duties of a community nurse 

Community nurses operate with a high degree of autonomy, planning their own days and managing their clients as they see fit. As a result, many community nurses value the variety their role offers and enjoy the close relationships they build with their colleagues, clients and the clients families.

Community nurses spend time growing meaningful relationships with their clients, delivering bespoke care and working closely with the clients loved ones to ensure the care delivered is person-centred and tailored to the individual’s medical needs and wellbeing.


The responsibilities of a community nurse

The role of a community nurse is to provide care for clients outside of clinical hospital settings. Often, this can mean treating people in the comfort of their own homes and assisting them with trips out in the community which may include trips to the park, zoo, supermarket, surgery visits and accompanying them on family holidays. This responsibility is not only beneficial to the client but also reduces pressure on hospital services.

Community nurses play a vital role in delivering person-centered care to clients and using their expertise and clinical judgement to make informed decisions to improve the quality of care the client receives. Community nurses can carry out a range of responsibilities during shift which may include:

  • Monitoring the client’s airways, including tracheostomy management and care
  • Monitoring the client’s breathing, including invasive or non-invasive ventilation management and care
  • Medication administration
  • Monitoring the client’s general health and wellbeing
  • Monitoring medical stock
  • Physiotherapy
  • Following a prescribed plan
  • Conducting safety checks on medical equipment
  • Record keeping
  • Managing infection prevention and control
  • Communicating with clients, family and professionals regularly
  • Supporting with tissue viability
  • Delivering personal care and hygiene
  • Moving and handling
  • Carrying out elimination management
  • Nutrition management
  • Enabling the client to meet their social goals and aspirations


What skills and qualities do community nurses need? 

As with any healthcare role, compassion and communication are hugely important qualities to possess when delivering care. However, community nurses often work alone or in small teams so they must be confident in their clinical expertise and decision making.

Being adaptable to working with different kinds of people in sometimes challenging situations is also key to community nursing. As your career progresses, it’s also important to hone your leadership qualities should you want to take on more responsibility, specialising in community care or even leading a team of community nurses as a clinical lead.


What is the difference between a community nurse and a district nurse? 

The terms ‘community nurse’ and ‘district nurse’ are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two roles.

A community nurse is a registered nurse that delivers bespoke care to clients in their homes and local communities. Community nurses do not require a specialist nurse qualification but previous experience working as a registered nurse. They are responsible for delivering high-quality care which includes:

  • Catheter care
  • End of Life care
  • Wound care
  • Bowel care
  • Diabetic care 

District nurses have completed a specialist community practitioner qualification at university. District nurses can deliver all of the above types of care and can prescribe medication, assess patient needs and maintain a case load of patients in a set area. Generally the term ‘district nurse’ is often used in the NHS.


How do I become a community nurse?

To become a community nurse at Thornbury Community Services (TCS) you will need to be a registered nurse with a valid NMC pin and have:

  • At least 12 months recent nursing experience working in the UK
  • At least 12 months experience working in an ITU setting or similar
  • A minimum experience of 6 months in the last 18 months providing tracheostomy care and suctioning and tracheostomy tube change
  • A minimum experience of 12 months in the last two years providing ventilation via tracheostomy care and ventilation via a mask care


Community nursing jobs with Thornbury Community Services (TCS) 

If you’re ready to embark on a rewarding career as a community nurse, we can support you in taking the next steps forward. TCS matches skilled registered nurses to fulfilling community-based roles across the UK, helping to make a positive difference in people’s lives every day. We recruit registered adult nurses (RGN), paediatric nurses (RNC), learning disability and autism nurses (RNLD) and mental health nurses (RMN). Take a look at our latest jobs here or simply register with us using the form below. Or contact our team on 0333 323 3762


Register with TCS today View our latest nurse jobs View our community nurse pay rates