Primary Care Nursing (Top-up) BSc (Hons)

Part-time undergraduate (Up to 3 years)

Chelmsford, Peterborough (Guild House), Cambridge

January, September


Whether you are currently working as a primary care or community nurse, or planning to do so, our course will provide you with a bespoke career pathway. It prepares you to enter a variety of areas such as: 'walk-in centres', general practice, nursing people in their own homes or specialist clinics (dermatology, sexual health, diabetes...)

Full description


There is a wide variety of settings existing in the community where you may wish to start or develop your career pathway. Minor injury units, practice nursing, working within district nursing, health visiting or paediatric teams, working in nursing homes integrated care community hospitals, sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol clinics, dermatology, cardiac and respiratory clinics out of hours services and outreach services, to mention just a few.  The BSc (Hons) Primary Care Nursing will enable you to emerge as an autonomous practitioner able to manage yourself, individuals and teams.

You may decide to specialise further in practice and or undertake a higher level degree. Your promotion prospects will be greatly enhanced, as will your opportunities to apply for more senior roles. This course provides further steps on the ladder of your career in primary and community nursing.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Work Based Learning for Service Improvement
    This module is both practice and theory and will require you to select a specialist area in the practice setting. A service review approach will enable you to identify, examine and evaluate relevant contemporary literature and apply these to Primary Care Nursing (PCN) practice. Key focal areas will include identifying need for service improvement and supporting this with evidence, communication within teams and organisations, adhering to local and national policies, frameworks, guidelines and professional standards. This will help you demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of your selected area for service improvement.
  • Fundamentals of Practice Nursing
    This module explores a wide and relevant assortment of skills and topic areas in addition to the research that underpins these. The philosophy of the NHS Constitution runs through this. The module prepares you to work within a multi-professional healthcare system and offer safe, ethical, evidence based care of the whole person.
  • Fundamentals of Community and Primary Care Nursing
    This module aims to provide you as a qualified nurse with a foundation for providing safe, ethical and evidence based care for service users. The sessions will cover a range of topics to aid transferability of existing skills and the development of new skills. Settings that you will work in and draw on include walk in centres, community teams, nursing homes, Sexual Health, Diabetes, Dermatology and other community led clinics, Integrated Care Centres, Substance Misuse Centres, occupational health providers.

You will study two core modules including Work based Learning for Service Improvement and a choice of either Fundamentals of Practice Nursing or Fundamentals of Community and Primary Care Nursing

Optional modules

  • Caring for People with Dementia
    If you have a professional interest in caring for people with dementia, or if you work in this area, our course will enhance your understanding and skills. You will learn person-centred approaches which are underpinned by respect for individuality, personal choice and family support. The module covers how changes in the brain can affect a person with dementia, and how dementia is assessed and diagnosed. Broader ethical and legal issues are explored, together with how contemporary research and policy issues contribute to best practice and service provision.
  • Clinical Assessment Skills for Health Professionals
    This module will focus on developing Clinical Assessment Skills and you will study physical examinations for all body systems using diagnostic equipment and interpreting investigations. You will examine the framework for Professional Practice and reflect on issue such as evidence-based practice, protocols, guidelines, reflective practice, and record-keeping. The module also addresses communication and the psycho-social aspects of healthcare. This covers topics such as influences on health status and health behaviour, communication skills, history-taking, record-keeping, clinical decision-making skills, and management of change. Finally, you will concentrate on the assessment of common conditions/injuries.
  • Enhanced Assessment in Mental Health
    You will explore the complexities of assessment strategies and techniques relevant to your specialism. You will also learn to critically appraise the application of theoretical principles, and enhance your clinical reasoning. You'll be able to adapt your study to suit your own practice and learning needs, incorporating local policies, guidance and directives.
  • Evidence-based Mental-Health Nursing
    This module will help you understand how to engage more effectively with your service users and their carers. We will look at a wide range of interventions, ranging from prevention to treatment and continuing development – but always centred around care, compassion, dignity and respect. You will also analyse how socially inclusive practice influences participation and the outcomes of interventions.
  • Holistic Assessment Skills for Community Nurses
    This module enables you to develop systems-based assessment skills which are patient-centered and support accurate decision making, integrating the fundamental components of compassionate care. Holistic assessment skills incorporates the environment in which the patient lives and the environment in which care will be delivered. Supervision from a designated GP or Nurse Practitioner is essential within this module to achieve the relevant clinical assessment skills.
  • Leadership and Management in the Community
    This module will develop leadership and management skills to a strategic level, enabling you as a practitioner to deliver high quality patient care. The module will introduce practitioners to theories of leadership and management processes to support teams, including performance management and motivation. You will also reflect on integrating the values of courage and good communication and addressing the challenges organisational culture can present.
  • Management of the Person with Diabetes
    You will develop the professional skills you need to care effectively and compassionately for people of any age with diabetes. The module examines the physiology, symptoms and impact of diabetes. You will understand the various interventions available, and how to manage acute and long-term diabetic complications. You will study the following topics: type 1 and 2 diabetes, the management of acute diabetic complications, non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions, the impact of diabetes, diabetes mellitus and the roles of insulin and glucagon.
  • Non-medical Prescribing
    This module prepares you to prescribe medicines from the British National Formulary, within your area of competence. You’ll learn to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost-effectively, as both an independent and supplementary prescriber. On successful completion of this module, you’ll be qualified to prescribe any medicine for any medical condition within your field of competence, including some controlled drugs.
  • Pain Management
    This module will link theory to practice in various clinical settings, covering a combination of assessment and treatment strategies. The focus will be on delivering holistic care, highlighting the biopsychosocial model of pain management. There will be an interdisciplinary approach and interactive group work sessions focusing on communication and implementation of care. External guest speakers will deliver sessions based on current practice. Topics will include: pain physiology, pain assessment, pharmacology, acute intervention, psychological interventions, patient education, pain in the older person, cancer pain.
  • Wound Management
    This module will help you deepen your clinical and technological understanding, enhance your patient-care skills, and advance your career prospects. You’ll focus on the healing of wounds at cellular level, enabling you to assess wounds arising from different causes within your own clinical setting. You’ll learn to critically appraise and make informed decisions about the use of different care strategies (generally and for individual patients) as well as advanced wound-healing technologies.

You will study the equivalent of 60 credits from the above optional module list. All modules are 30 credits, except from 'Understanding Contraception and Sexual Health', 'Holistic Assessment Skills for Community Practitioners' and 'Leadership and Management in the Community', which are all 15 credits. Modules are subject to change.


The assessments will help you understand how theory and practice works together. The course relies on several types of assessment: Examinations (short answer and/or multiple choice or essay writing exams), Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, Assignments (essay style, case studies, topical analysis or reports) and Presentations. 

You will also be assessed through practice assessment. You will be asked to meet specified competencies in practice, in order to demonstrate competence. The assessment is undertaken by a supervisor or mentor working in the same specialist area and may include reflective writing and/or discussion plus observation of practice. This will be recorded in a Practice Assessment Document.

Here are more details about the assessment of the core modules:

Fundamentals of Practice Nursing and Fundamentals of Community and Primary Care Nursing are assessed with the completion of a Practice Assessment Document (pass/fail) and a summative assessed presentation of 20 minutes.

Work based Learning: You are expected to identify a key area in practice that requires improvement. Following discussion with your project supervisor and workplace manager, you will produce a project of 6,000 words. This project will demonstrate your skills and knowledge in the identification of this area for improvement, how improvement may be managed and your ability to clearly relate how this change can be delivered.

Non-Medical Prescribing: It is the NMC standard for the Non-Medical Prescribing module to deliver examinations in pharmacology and calculations in addition to the practical assessment as demonstrated with Objective Structured Clinical Examinations. We have excellent lecturers in pharmacology and prescribing practice to support you through these assessments.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care is the largest in ARU, with over 7,000 students. Our Faculty is teeming with expertise and primed to meet the demand for creating health professionals, teachers, doctors, scientists and educators for the three districts we serve: Chelmsford, Cambridge and Peterborough.

We have been training undergraduates for professional roles for over 25 years, with a reputation for quality, dedication and ambition balanced with student satisfaction.

We know that to give our students the very best experiential learning, prior to getting into the workplace, simulation is second to none, for safe, realistic, learning environments. We have invested heavily in purpose built simulated wards, science labs and skills space, to support or students through their learning.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Peterborough (Guild House)
Guild House

Guild House is our dedicated healthcare campus in the historic city of Peterborough.

Explore our Guild House campus

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2018/19 or 2019/20 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Important fee notes

The course fee assumes that you’re studying at half the rate of a full time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

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