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.”
Coronavirus resources: (see the Infections Diseases topic page for key learning resources)
The Queens Nursing Institute has developed a Coronavirus Information Centre. As well as a series of rapid training plans to assist nurses making the transition into unfamiliar settings, it includes links to key resources for nurses working in community, primary care and care home settings.
The Queens Nursing Institute has also developed Minimum Bridging Competencies for General Practice Nurses Transitioning to Community Nursing to support Practice Nurses who may be redeployed into the community.
In addition the HEE e-LfH COVID-19 (coronavirus) collection has new e-learning programmes for nurses in primary care including Nurses deployed into a primary and community care setting and Supporting Student Nurses in General Practice.
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.
GPNEN from The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) 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.
GPN Single Point is the area on the FutureNHS collaboration site which brings together information for people working on the GPN 10 point plan to increase the number of nurses who want to work in General Practice. It includes links to training resources, data, return to practice information and much more. If you don’t have access – contact email@example.com.
Key reports for General Practice Nursing
General Practice Nurse Standards: Voluntary Standards for Education and Practice compiled by the QNI to reflect recent educational developments for nurses moving into General Practice including Voluntary Standards for nurses new to General Practice Nursing (2020) and separate Voluntary Standards for senior General Practice Nurses (2017).
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. It is hoped that this will be a significant step in establishing General Practice Nursing as an exciting career opportunity.
- Read the letter to Local Directors from HEE regarding the new Framework here.
- Watch the HEE YouTube “Thinking of becoming a general practice nurse?” where GPNs talk about their everyday work.
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 (published 2015) 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.
- Read about the report in a blog from Zoe Berry, Programme Director (General Practice Nursing), HETV.
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.
- 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
QNI General Practice Nurse Standards
The QNI has published two General Practice Nurse standards:
- Voluntary Standards for nurses new to General Practice Nursing (2020) to develop the standards as one of the actions arising from the strategic document, ‘Developing confidence, capability and capacity: Ten point action plan for General Practice Nursing’ (NHSE, 2017). The standards have been designed to provide a structured overview of best practice for nurses at the beginning of the career pathway. The standards also aim to give guidance to education providers developing introductory GPN programmes and Specialist Practitioner Qualification programmes.
- Voluntary Standards for senior General Practice Nurses (2017) focused on senior General Practice Nurses and have been designed to reflect the requirements of this role. These standards seek to guide senior GPN clinicians, their employers and higher education institutions (HEIs).
Nursing and Midwifery Council revised Code of conduct
The revised NMC Code was published on 29th January 2015 and became effective from 31st March 2015.
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:
- As well as reinforcing the existing standards the new code looks at behaviour
- Registrants are expected to make the code central to their daily practice
- Nurses and midwives must refer to the Code regularly to ensure that they are meeting the standards
- The code will link with the new revalidation process
- 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. A new Revalidation process was introduced in 2016.
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.
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
The Core Capabilities Framework for Advanced Clinical Practice (Nurses) Working in General Practice/Primary Care in England (published January 2020) provides a national capabilities framework for nurses working at an advanced level of clinical practice in general practice and primary care in England. It will support nurses working at an advanced level to demonstrate and evidence their capabilities to service commissioners, employers, people utilising health care and the public.
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.
RCN guidance on Good Employment Practice for nurses employed by GPs.
RCGP guidance on General Practice Nursing and GPN Nursing standards is available on the Nursing page of the RCGP website including Nurse Competency Frameworks for GPNs and nurses working at the advanced clinical practice level within general practice.
Transition to General Practice Nursing is a free online learning resource from the 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.
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.]
Foundation of Nursing Leadership – a compilation of free nursing leadership resources on the internet
Practice Nurse resources on the Health Education West Midlands website.
Last updated: 12 June, 2020