Developing your educational qualification
Healthcare assistants may use NVQ level 3 to access higher education in some universities, or to access foundation degrees.
Assistant practitioners may be eligible for reduced time to undertake general nurse training in some universities.
General Practice Nurses who are highly experienced in clinical practice and have undertaken many short courses but no university courses may be able to use the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) system to enable clinical experience and learning count towards academic credits. This requires a professional profile to outline skills and learning experiences and the ways these have been applied in practice. Universities charge for these APEL assessments, which are complex to administer.
See: Understanding accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) procedures (PDF 70KB) [See: How to access PDF files] and contact local universities to discuss this further.
The GPN toolkit provides an explanation of the various levels of academic study.
See: Academic levels of study (PDF 58KB)
Defining the competencies that are required for a particular role is a way of identifying the skills and knowledge needed. NMC registration provides evidence of a defined professional standard for employers but proof of ability and extra knowledge will be required to progress up the career pathway. Appropriate CPD is an important part of the risk management and quality assurance responsibilities of PCTs, practices and individual health professionals. Any mandatory training required by the PCT is in addition to basic NMC requirements of 5 days (35 hours) of learning activity every 3 years.
General Practice Nurses may undertake CPD in a wide variety of ways - there is no approved set format, apart from ensuring that the learning is relevant to the role.
Approved NMC training programmes for mentors are generally provided by HEIs although they should work with service providers to formalise the preparation and support required. Practices need to understand the benefits that mentorship can bring in terms of prestige and high standards and if so they will be supportive of mentor activities.
Working in general practice means that new areas of learning and development will be dictated by the needs of the practice population. These areas should be formally identified in annual appraisals.