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Support and supervision in practice: Specialist Community Practice (District Nursing)

Practice Supervisors

Practice Supervisors must be registered with a professional regulator like the NMC, GMC or HCPC. Health and social care professionals who are not registered with a professional regulator cannot be Practice Supervisors.

Giving feedback is a fundamental part of the Practice Supervisor role and can include:

  • providing direct feedback to students on their conduct and achievement of proficiencies and skills, including where they don’t think the achievement has been met, or could be improved on
  • providing constructive feedback to improve overall student performance
  • putting action plans in place to improve student performance

A key part of giving feedback is adding relevant observations on the student’s conduct, proficiency and achievement to the student’s record(s) of achievement. These observations may include the observations of anyone else who has taken part in the student’s education, depending on the way in which practice supervision has been organised.

Practice Supervisors also contribute to recommendations for student progression such as:

  • direct communication with Practice and Academic Assessors to share their views on student achievement, underachievement or areas to continue to work on
  • inputting into student documentation with their views on student achievement

Follow the link below for further information on the Practice Supervisor role:

Practice Assessors

As a NMC Practice Assessor, you are a Registered Nurse who holds a current registration, including a District Nursing qualification and who has undergone preparation for the role of Practice Assessor, either in your own organisation, online or attended a workshop at your local University.

Practice Assessors are responsible for the assessment and confirmation of the achievement of proficiencies and programmes outcomes in practice learning for the District Nursing student(s) they are assigned to. As a nominated Practice Assessor you must also work with the nominated Academic Assessor to provide recommendations for student progression. A good assessment is evidence based, objective and fair and will take into account a variety of views and inputs, and student diversity, such as different learning styles, cultural backgrounds and communication styles. The Practice Assessor should take into account the student’s history of achievement and their achievement across theory and practice.

As a Practice Assessor you must be able to show that the evidence you have gathered comes from a variety of relevant sources and that it has informed their assessment decisions. Sources of evidence can include the following:

  • direct observation of the student
  • communication with Practice Supervisors
  • student documentation, such as a practice assessment document or ongoing record of achievement
  • communication with any other Practice Assessors
  • communication with the Academic Assessor
  • student self-reflection
  • communication and an ongoing relationship with the student

Assessment should be continuous throughout the time in which a Practice Assessor is assigned to a student. The Practice Assessor should be up to date on the progress of the student they are assigned to; collation of information on a student’s performance should be managed in a way that enables this.

Feedback to the student about their achievement, and collaborating with them to review possible areas for improvement also forms a fundamental part of the assessment process. Practice Assessors should have the protected time to carry out their role, including time for completing any student records. The support is proportionate and will depend on the individual Practice Assessor and what is needed for them to perform their role, to enable them to carry out an evidenced based and reliable assessment, and uphold public protection. This can take a number of different forms, such as access to student documentation, knowing what the student is expected to achieve, protected time to attend training, and support for raising concerns.

Follow the link below for further information on the Practice Assessor role:

Academic Assessors

Academic Assessors are registered nurse tutors from ARU who hold a District Nursing qualification and are responsible for collating and confirming the achievement of proficiencies and programmes outcomes in academic learning for the students they are assigned to.

The role of assessing a student for progression is the responsibility of the Academic and Practice Assessors, working together. Feedback to the student about their achievement, and working with them to review possible areas for improvement, also forms a fundamental part of the collation, confirmation, and assessment process. The Academic Assessor should be aware of any concerns regarding student performance that may have been raised in the practice environment or by Practice Assessors.

Follow the link below for further information on the Academic Assessor role:

Education Champions and the link team

Education Champions are Anglia Ruskin University academics who play a key role in establishing and maintaining effective communication links between the University and Practice Partners. Education champions are supported in their role by a link team who are Academic Assessors/Senior Lecturers from the University supporting the pre-registration nursing course.

Each Trust/Organisation has an Education Champion who is the key point of contact between that Trust/Organisation and the University to ensure the quality of the student practice learning experience. In addition, with support from the link team, they co-ordinate the educational audit process and chair the Practice Education Committees (PECs) every two months with the key education leads from your organisation. These meetings follow a standard agenda and include a review of student evaluations as well as external reviews such as the CQC.

The education champion contact details can be found at the top of this page.

District Nursing teaching team

The DN teaching team will be allocated to students as personal tutors as well as Academic Assessors, providing pastoral care to students in their role as personal tutors.

The DN team are also part of the wider link team and are involved at the interface of education and service and are responsible for addressing any issues that may occur in the practice environments, such as student progress or safeguarding concerns. They are also involved in the audit of clinical areas to ensure the students are placed in a quality learning environment.

As an Academic Assessor their role is to facilitate routine link visits in practice once each trimester. These contacts will also provide the opportunity for students, Practice Supervisors and Practice Assessors to discuss the student's progress.