More general practices are failing due to recruitment issues, not only with employing doctors but employing nurses too.
General practice nursing is an exciting, diverse and skilled role which requires autonomous practice and critical thinking. I can remember my early days as a novice general practice nurse who had left an ITU job and thought “what have I let myself in for"? I was always running late and patients looking at me quizzically as I checked all their immunisations with them as my second checker. I had completed a classroom-based practice nurse course, but felt that this did not adequately prepare me for the role. As a frustrated and dare I say “older” ex-general practice nurse, it is a role that I love and feel passionately about, hence this blog. We need to raise the profile of general practice nurse training nationally.
Here in North Wales, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Local University Health Board (BCUHB) has developed an in-house training programme for several BCUHB employed general practice nurses to help standardise training and also support the transisition of nurses who want to work in general practice but who have never left the hospital boundaries. The role of the general practice nurse varies from practice to practice and the above approach hopes to standardise this. Clinical supervision, peer support and mentorship from experienced general practice nurses are key components which complements the local university accredited module beautifully.
This 12-month scheme has been achieved with support from the Welsh Government via Primary Care bids funding. The trainee general practice nurses are only just embarking on their journey in general practice and their feedback will be essential in shaping the face of general practice nurse education here in North Wales. Watch this space!