This website is intended for healthcare professionals


Inspiring new nurses to go into general practice

Primary care is an excellent place to work for newly qualified nurses, Crystal Oldman writes

I am inspired to see and hear about the work going on across the UK to promote community and primary care as an excellent place to work for newly qualified nurses. The early indications of the career outcomes are really positive.

Many of the examples I have learned about were highlighted in 2016, when the QNI was commissioned by Health Education England to undertake a project exploring examples of good practice and innovation in supporting student nurses on practice placements in the community and primary care.

In doing this work, the QNI also explored the barriers to expanding placement experiences and how these may be overcome.

There were fabulous examples of university programmes that provided a full simulation of delivering care to patients, families and carers in their homes, with the realistic challenges that nurses face in this care environment.

The results of the project were shared at the QNI conference in 2016 and inspired many delegates to explore the potential to replicate the innovations in their own areas.

The project also identified the potential for more practice placements in the private, voluntary and independent sectors, including residential and nursing homes.

In many areas, general practice has been supported to develop a range of student nurse placements, with the support of practice learning facilitators across a locality.

With the large number of general practice nurses (GPN) retiring over the next four years, there is an incentive to ‘grow’ the next generation of nurses while they are students and inspire them to serve their community as a GPN when they qualify.

Student nurses find the opportunity to learn and develop clinical skills in the community and in primary care to be very satisfying, because of the one to one learning from their mentor in peoples’ homes.

It is the opposite of what many students actually anticipate before starting their placement. A student nurse expressed this in a QNI blog.

She wrote: ‘I discovered a service struggling to balance their patients’ needs with their caseload restrictions.’ (

In relation to this, later this year, the QNI will be publishing the next in our series of Transition resources: Transition to Care Home Practice.

These free, online resources are aimed at supporting nurses who are new to the environment of care and are frequently used by students to support their learning when on placement.

Please share to inspire the students in your area of practice here:

Dr Crystal Oldman is chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute