A question was put to the Independent Nurse team at the annual QNI conference at the end of September. It sounded like a simple enough question but it momentarily stumped us. 'Why don't more nurses open and run their own practices?'
The lady raising the issue, was a forthright, independent nurse with an entrepenuerial streak, who said that was her intention. Happily, we were able to point her in the direction of two nurse directors who did just that and have been employing GPs and managing their practice in Cuckoo Lane, West London for around ten years. But the question remains.
We regularly hear that practice nurses are frustrated at their skills being underused, that their terms and conditions are poor and that practice managers don't take their views and ideas seriously. So what is holding them back from taking matters into their own hands and setting up a practice of their own?
After all, women and nurses excel in all other areas of life. What's stopping them from becoming their own managers?
Is it lack of business skills, lack of funds, fear of a loss of security, an inability to think outside the box, or lack of ambition?
Or is it that one would have to be mad to take on a practice when primary care is buckling under the weight of too many patients, insufficient time, a GP and practice nurse shortage and no money? Still, the Conservatives have promised the public seven-day GP access. It's almost comical. But perhaps it is an opportunity.
When primary care is in such a mess, surely there are nurses out there who can do better? If you are running your own practice or would like to, please get in touch.
Primary care needs you to be more than someone else's practice nurse.