The role and responsibilities of a community nurse

Community nurses provide clinical services to patients away from hospital settings, helping them with illness, treatment, and recovery. Within a community nursing role, you can expect to spend time with patients in ‘high’ and ‘very high risk’ groups, including the elderly, people with disabilities, as well as the frail and vulnerable. It will see you playing a pivotal role in delivering healthcare to people.

If you’re looking to discover more about community nursing, we’ve taken a close look at the role and responsibilities, the settings where you can work along with the skills and qualities that a great community nurse will often need. We have also outlined the community nursing placements that are currently available with the Guild.

Join our community nursing team

What do community nurses do?

Typical community nursing responsibilities include care planning as well as providing urgent and end-of-life care. A community nurse’s role is also about smoothing the whole patient journey. This can involve delivering care to patients in their homes, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and facilitating discharge from the hospital.

With the Guild, our community nurses support people with basic personal care all the way through to complex clinical care. Their typical duties and responsibilities can include:

  • Tracheostomy and ventilation
  • Cough assist airway clearance
  • Physiotherapy routines
  • Airway management
  • Bowel and bladder management
  • Learning disability and autism support
  • Seizure management
  • Personal care

For a more comprehensive list of the duties that community nurses carry out with the Guild, visit our community care service page.

Community nursing. A rewarding role

“It surprised me how much I have enjoyed community work. It has provided new learning opportunities. I find it personally very rewarding, becoming part of client’s lives. Being able to give them 100% of your attention, without the distractions of a busy ward.”

Do you want to find out more about what life is like as a community nurse with the Guild? Hear from Emma, who transferred her ICU and hospital experience into working in the community. Read her story.

What important skills and qualities should community nurses have?

In a community nurse role, you’ll be expected to work more independently than your colleagues in acute hospitals. As a result, you’ll need the following skills and qualities:

  • Self-reliance
  • Holistic thinker
  • Confident decision maker

You’ll also be visiting people who are vulnerable, elderly or with disabilities in their own homes, so strong communication and relationship-building skills are important. Above all, as in other nursing roles, compassion and kindness are essential.

Although for much of your day, you’ll be working independently or visiting people in their homes, that doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to have all the answers. You’ll need to be able to work collaboratively as part of a broader healthcare team, involving your colleagues and other agencies as required.

In your daily work, you’ll need to be confident:

  • Working with a diverse group of patients
  • Administering insulin
  • Delivering palliative care
  • Checking on syringe drivers
  • Changing catheters
  • Supporting enteral feeding
  • Caring for wounds/drains
  • Helping patients and their families manage long-term conditions, referring to other services as necessary

Although this long (and not exhaustive) skillset may seem daunting at first, as a community nurse you’ll be well-supported by the rest of the community or public health team. Over time, as your confidence in the community nursing role grows, your skillset will strengthen too.

Interested in joining us?

Discover more about what it’s like working for the Nursing Guild and what sets us apart from other agencies.

Where does a community nurse work?

One of the best things about working as a community nurse is the wide range of settings you could find yourself in. These can include:

  • Community hospitals
  • Supporting patients at home
  • Supporting patients in care homes
  • Being part of the team in healthcare clinics

As a community nurse, you’ll need a car and a full driving licence. You’ll also need to be flexible – plans can change at the last minute in this role.

What qualifications and experience are needed for community nursing roles?

To become a community nurse with the Guild, you’ll need to:

  • Be a registered adult, child, mental health, or learning disability nurse
  • Have the skills and experience needed for nursing in the community
  • Have experience conducting patient visits

For certain community or district nursing roles, degree-level training as a specialist district/public health nurse practitioner or the completion of a postgraduate certificate or master’s degree is also needed.

Community nursing opportunities with the Guild

If you’re a community nurse or are looking into community work across Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, we’d love to hear from you.

With the Guild, you’ll be working temporary, last-minute placements in community settings. You will receive higher rates of pay, be in control of your shifts and receive travel expenses wherever you go.

Find out more about our nursing benefits and the community nursing jobs we have available. You can also register your interest in joining the Guild today.


2030 Nursing – A Vision for Nursing In Scotland. Available at:

Register with the Nursing Guild

We’re looking for exceptional nursing and midwifery professionals like you to join our team. Register with the Nursing Guild to access high rates of pay, paid mileage and support with revalidation.

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