General practice nursing career framework
"Find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life"
- George Burns (1896 - 1996)
Nurses and healthcare assistants working in general practice comprise a large proportion of the community nursing workforce. Their significance and variety of roles has increased as primary care services expand and the management of long term conditions shifts away from secondary care. Nursing in general practice involves activity in all three core functions identified in "Liberating the Talents"¹ i.e. first contact care, public health, and management of long term conditions.
Although the number of nurses working in general practice is continuing to rise there are also many general practice nurses due to retire in the next 10 years. Recruitment and development is therefore increasingly important. This will be aided by the career pathway provided which has clearly identified levels, and demonstrates how to move into the specialty, across and upwards. Development of an increasing range of competences in general practice nursing is essential to extend the range of services available to patients. The accompanying guidance is linked to the national career framework² and the Modernising Nursing Careers initiative³ and identifies appropriate education and experience required to work within general practice nursing.
- Department of Health Liberating the Talents, Helping Primary Care Trusts and nurses to deliver the NHS Plan. London, The Stationery Office; 2002
- Skills for Health. What is the Careers Framework for Health? May 2005. www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/page/career-framework
- Department of Health Modernising Nursing Careers - setting the direction, London, DoH:2006.
What is a career framework and why is it needed?
"Modernising Nursing Careers" has introduced the notion of structured career planning for nurses to enable them to develop appropriate knowledge and skills to be able to progress onto more senior, or alternative positions if they wish. Nursing within general practice has previously lacked any formal recognition of varying levels of responsibility; the Working in Partnership Programme Toolkits have addressed this with a career pathway that identifies the appropriate levels of skills required for varying levels of responsibility. This helps to show where transferable skills, including those gained in many varying branches of nursing can be used to move onto various levels.
Where can I get more detail on the types of jobs that match the career framework?
THe following pages will provide you with examples of job descriptions, competences and the educational framework for levels 2-8 - See: GPN career framework
For supporting information please see:
- Developing your educational qualification
- What are the qualifications refered to in the career framework?
- Career information for nurses, assistant practitioners and HCAs
"We have introduced HCAs to our practice. They have brought fresh ideas into the practice, they have made me, as a practice nurse, reevaluate the work that I do and it has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Skill mix has been a very important part of developing the nursing team. Originally we did not know whether to increase the number of practice nurses or not, but then I decided to look at bringing HCAs into post and it has worked so well." - Mavis Bates, Senior Practice Nurse, The Ridge Medical Practice, Bradford
"The GPN Toolkit is a huge resource, not only for the nurse but also for the practice manager, the employer, the educationalist and the PCT. It's time we had something that is so valuable." - Suzie Clements, Practice Nurse Lead
"The GPN Toolkit contains the career development framework that will fit the nurse now and the nurse of the future." - Jacquie Phare, Torbay CT