Comment

It’s high time we sing the praises of general practice nurses

General practice nurses go the extra mile, innovate and make the best use of resources to provide better patient experiences, despite staff shortages

General practice nurses go the extra mile, innovate and make the best use of resources to provide better patient experiences, despite staff shortages


Picture: iStock

The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, marking the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. What would Miss Nightingale think of general practice as a nursing specialism? 

I’m sure she would embrace its unique contribution to modern healthcare. Delivering care in or near to people’s homes has better health outcomes than a hospital admission for many patients. 

But what of the nurses delivering that care? Who is caring for us? 

    I am constantly contacted by general practice nurses (GPNs) new to the job who don’t have a contract and receive no induction. 

    Agenda for Change offers no guarantees for general practice nurses 

    The NHS Long Term Plan describes how new allied healthcare professionals will join primary care and sets out the Agenda for Change equivalent pay grades they will enjoy, but offers no guarantees for GPNs. 

    ‘Make 2020 the year of the nurse in your area or primary care network’

    Terms and conditions and pay issues are affecting GPN recruitment and retention. Would you stay with a practice that appoints a paramedic on a higher wage than you and then asks you to mentor them? I doubt it.  

    However, there are many good employers and there is much that is excellent in general practice. That is because GPNs go the extra mile, innovate and make the best use of resources to provide better patient experiences, despite staff shortages. 

    Make 2020 the year of the nurse in your area or your primary care network (PCN). Ask your clinical director what can be done to promote the value of the GPN service and raise its profile. 

    Could you do a poster display on a nurse-led project or innovation? Perhaps create PCN nurse awards? Or allocate a day or evening to celebrate the nursing team? 

    It’s your profession, so sing its praises – and have a happy and productive 2020.


    Marie Therese Massey is RCN professional lead for general practice nursing

     

     

     

     

     


    In other news

    This article is for subscribers only

    Jobs