Inspiration: Building the general practice nursing workforce – mentoring, recruiting and developing

Inspiration: Building the general practice nursing workforce – mentoring, recruiting and developing

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Organisation: Health Education North West London


Our aim is to build the general practice nursing workforce to support the Shaping a Healthier Future Programme.

The main issues are that it is difficult for nurses to transition to become general practice nurses as the skills are not learnt in general nurse training, and many nurses do not know the full extent of the role.

Brief Summary

To ensure there is the capacity and capability of general practice to recruit more PN’s in line with the out-of-hospital shift, General Practice needs to work from the bottom up to build the workforce. Starting with training nurses who are able to mentor, then training nurses who are keen to transition from another speciality of nursing in to practice nursing followed by supporting the existing workforce to develop community leadership skills.

Following in-depth data collection, the SaHF programme identified that around 80 percent more general practice nurses were needed to care for people closer to their home in North West London.

Working with Health Education North West London (HENWL), there is a practice nurse development programme to:

  1. Train general practice nurses to be mentors
  2. Recruit new nurses into general practice nursing
  3. Develop our existing nurses

The mentor project
We have a ‘bottom-up’ mentorship and leadership programme for practice nurses where practice nurse mentors can train and sign-off competencies for their colleagues.

Currently we have 20 practice nurses trained as mentors and seven more ready to be trained.

The new general practice nurse mentors are able to mentor:

  • nurses from other sectors but who are new to practice nursing
  • healthcare assistants undertaking the Care Certificate
  • new general practice nurse mentors

Recruiting new nurses
Currently, we have 31 nurses training (or soon to be trained) as general practice nurses.

The training programme includes:

  • Basic London Medical Committee training course (part on line and two face to face study days)
  • Smears, immunisations &ear care courses (in separate modules to learn basic skills of practice nursing)
  • Completion of placements in general practice including competency assessments, to gain hands-on experience

The majority of the nurses in training are also working in their current roles and some have already been offered posts.

Developing our existing general practice nurses
We are supporting the current practice nurses to continue their education and progress along the career pathway, eg, through being prescribers, nurse practitioners etc.

We have the following initiatives in place:

  • Essential training
  • CPPD package
  • Appraisal & revalidation IT-based toolkit
  • Leadership support groups

We have an incentives package for general practices to allow their practice nurses to attend our courses. HENWL reimburses the practice all the back-fill funding if the practice nurse completes a course.

Area of work

In relation to the four foundations of our declaration, this project aims to:

  • Happy staff with the right skills

Links for more information

This work was presented at a conference on Transforming London’s Community and General Practice Nursing:
The video is here with slides embedded – this project starts at 06:24
Presentation slides

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