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CPD Zone       Resources by profession      

General Practice Nurses

“The general practice nursing workforce must be at the forefront of
leading change by delivering better health outcomes in primary care,
and by making primary care ‘the place to be’ for ambitious nurses
who deliver world class care and support our population to live well.”

The profile of nursing in General Practice is being raised in response to the drive for improvement in the delivery of primary care. The role of the nurse in General Practice is seen as being crucial to the ways in which health services will need to change in response to NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View’ and the new models of care that are proposed.

Read about General Practice Nursing on the NHS Health Careers website.

NEW – General Practice Nurse Education Network (GPNEN) – NEW

GPNEN is a new resource from The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) which aims to provide:

  • a “one-stop shop” for continuing professional development initiatives and support
  • a framework for GPN practice education roles within primary care
  • competency frameworks
  • links to key policies and public consultations that may have relevance to General Practice Nursing
  • standards of education and practice for GPNs
  • resources for student nurses or those new to General Practice Nursing – including job opportunities, terms and conditions and related issues and a discussion board.

Key reports for General Practice Nursing

Read the General Practice Nurse Standards: Voluntary Standards for Education and Practice  compiled by the Queens Nursing Institute (September 2017) to reflect  recent educational developments for nurses moving into General Practice, in particular  to support the role of senior GPNs working across General Practice hubs, clusters and federations in leading and managing a team of nurses, health care assistants and others across the organisation.

General Practice – Developing confidence, capability and capacity – a  Ten Point Action Plan for General Practice Nursing, describing the nursing element of the General Practice Forward View (July 2017).

The General Practice Nursing, Workforce Development Plan  from HEE (March 2017) recommends raising the profile of general practice nursing, improving training capacity by providing access to accredited training, increasing the number of placements in general practice, offering a specific general practice ‘return to practice’ programme and developing GPN educator and leadership roles and mentorship programmes. A  short film to accompany the framework presents a Day in the Life of a General Practice Nurse.

The District & General Practice Nursing Service Career and Education Framework from HEE was launched on the 27th October 2015 accompanied by a Twitter chat with Professor Lisa Bayliss- Pratt. It is hoped that this will be a significant step in establishing General Practice Nursing as an exciting career opportunity.

The future of primary care: Creating teams for tomorrow is shaping much of the focus of the Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) on future workforce planning. The report was commissioned by Health Education England from the Primary Care Workforce Commission and chaired by Professor Martin Roland. It recognises that GPN numbers need to increase, and that there is a lack of opportunities for nurses in primary care to develop their skills despite the wide range of responsibilities they have very successfully taken on, particularly in the management of long term conditions.

The HEE Shape of Caring Review  (‘Raising the Bar‘) (March 2015)  relating to the education and training of nursing and care assistants went out for consultation September/October 2015.  You can also read HEE’s summary of the responses and an outline of the steps HEE proposes to take.

In its response HEE accepted all 34 recommendations of the Review and is now working on plans for the 26 recommendations that are within its remit.

The Review found a wealth of excellent practice in the education and training of care assistants and Registered Nurses but also found variability. The NMC has already embarked on a fundamental review of the skills and competencies that future nurses will be expected to meet for pre-registration that  aims to ensure that future training reflects the changing health and care landscape, the blurring of professional boundaries and the increased expectations of nurses’ capabilities.

Follow progress of the Review via the Care Matters Newsletter on the  Shape of Caring webpage. Also watch the video animations created to explore some of the key themes of the Review on the HEE YouTube channel.

The Shape of caring Review recommended developing a new Nurse Associate role to work alongside care assistants and registered nurses to deliver hands-on care, focusing on ensuring patients continue to get the compassionate care they deserve.

Over 1,000 Nursing Associates have begun training and huge interest in the role and high demand from providers wanting to offer training places has led the creation of a further 1,000 training places.

Read all about the new role here.

Competencies and Standards – NMC code

NMC revised Code of conduct

The new Code from the Nursing and Midwifery Council was published on 29th January 2015 and became effective from 31st March 2015. It can be found on the NMC website here.

The new code sets the professional standards that registered nurses and midwives must uphold in order to maintain their registration. It is part of the new revalidation process which came into effect in April 2016.. There are 5 key points:

  1. As well as reinforcing the existing standards the new code looks at behaviour
  2. Registrants are expected to make the code central to their daily practice
  3. Nurses and midwives must refer to the Code regularly to ensure that they are meeting the standards
  4. The code will link with the new revalidation process
  5. All registrants must treat people with compassion, ensure their needs are assessed and be open and candid about all aspects of care including when mistakes or harm has occurred.

Changes introduced into the revised NMC code – this article in Nursing Times (February 2015) discusses the new Code in greater detail.

Revalidation and appraisal


All nurses have been required to demonstrate their eligibility to maintain their registration through the Prep standards since 2002.

From April 1st 2016 the standards have been replaced with the new NMC revalidation system. The revalidation requirements  are detailed in the booklet How to revalidate with the NMC.

Further information and supporting material are available from the NMC here 

In brief the new revalidation system requires that you must have practised for a minimum number of hours over the three year period since your registration was last renewed or you joined the register, as follows:

Nurse / midwife / specialist community public health nurse 450 practice hours required
Nurse and midwife 900 practice hours required (to include 450 hours for nursing, 450 hours for midwifery)

Revalidation also requires you have undertaken 35 hours of CPD relevant to your scope of practice as a nurse or midwife, in the three year period since your registration was last renewed or you joined the register.

The Royal College of Nursing offers a range of resources to assist you with revalidation and planning your continuing professional development through its RCNi portal. This collection of subscription based resources  includes an online portfolio designed to keep you informed on latest developments around revalidation. RCNi also offer online learning modules on over 43 topics – see these here.

Information and details on the subscription rates for RCNi packages for primary care is available here.

Hampshire Healthcare Library Service has compiled a list of useful resources around reflective practice which is part of the revalidation process. – download it here.


Appraisals are an essential part of the process of ensuring an individual’s personal development in the workplace.

While not part of the appraisal process, clinical supervision should provide an opportunity for nurses to reflect on and review their practice and can help nurses to identify training and continuing development needs. Traditionally accessing clinical supervision in General Practice has been challenging because nurse often work in small individual practices.

The Care Quality Commission promote access to clinical supervision for all health and social care workers. Supporting information and guidance: Supporting effective clinical supervision includes many useful links to help the process

Advanced level practice

In 2010 the Department of Health published Advanced Level Nursing: a Position paper which describes the level of practice expected of nurses working at advanced level who provide direct care to patients, clients, service users or populations. It has provided a benchmark for all stakeholders to use to make informed judgements regarding the required scope, level of practice and associated competence of nurses working at advanced level.

The RCN Advanced Nurse Practitioner Forum includes documents relating to competencies, accreditation and careers as well as events of interest. There is also a link to the RCN library reading list on Advanced Nursing Practice.

The RCGP also addresses the common core competencies and the wider range of skills, knowledge and behaviours a nurse needs, to be a fully proficient Advanced Nurse Practitioner in General Practice.

Nurse Associate role

The Shape of caring Review recommended developing a new nurse associate role to work alongside care assistants and registered nurses to deliver hands-on care, focusing on ensuring patients continue to get the compassionate care they deserve.

Over 1,000 Nursing Associates have begun training and huge interest in the role and high demand from providers wanting to offer training places has led the creation of a further 1,000 training places.

Read all about the new role here.

Moving into nursing in general practice

There is a growing recognition that GPN is a rapidly expanding speciality in nursing, reflecting the shift in health care delivery from secondary to primary care over the last two decades. However it has been difficult for nurses to make the transition to general practice because a unique knowledge and skill set is required. Unlike District Nurses and Health Visitors, however there have not been clear pathways and access to preparation for specialist practice.

This situation is changing and increasingly a variety of opportunities are beginning to emerge. GPN Training Schemes have been developed and piloted in Thames Valley and Wessex and other parts of the country.

Read the RCN guidance on Good Employment Practice for nurses employed by GPs.

Read the RCGP guidance on General Practice Nursing and GPN Nursing standards are available on the Nursing page of the RCGP website.

The RCGP Practice Nurse Competency Framework will give you guidance on the skills required of the GPN

Transition to General Practice Nursing is a free online learning resource from the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) to support nurses who are new to General Practice based on the knowledge and expertise of nurses and educators working in the profession.

 Induction Template for General Practice Nursing published by NHS England and QNI aims to assist with good practice in induction and orientation for nurses moving into General Practice, by developing a bespoke checklist with common ‘national’ elements, adapted to suit local areas.

Check the Wessex Deanery or Oxford Deanery  events calendars for local training across Thames Valley and Wessex.

Online learning resources

BMJ Learning for Nurses – Accredited evidence based learning modules on topics such as the elderly patient, the patient with diabetes. A mix of interactive case histories, reflective thinking, referenced text, audio and video.

CPD Launchpad brings together articles from MA Healthcare journals  British Journal of Nursing and British Journal of Midwifery  to support revalidation requirements. CPD Launchpad offers all users a free online portfolio, so you can easily save evidence of your progress towards the NMC requirements, ready to download whenever you need it.
[Note Registration and use of the online portfolio is free but access to the complete range of CPD content requires a subscription to one of MA Healthcare’s journals.]

Nursing Studies (Leadership in Clinical Practice)– Post-qualifying  part-time on campus or online at a distance course from the Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery at Oxford Brookes University.

Foundation of Nursing Leadership – a compilation of free nursing leadership resources on the internet

Practice Nurse resources on the Health Education West Midlands  website.

The CPD Zone is brought to you by the GP schools of Health Education England working across Thames Valley and Wessex, in association with Oxford Health FT Library.

Last updated: 5 August, 2019

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