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Developing the role of the GP nurse

As Health Education England’s General Practice Workforce Development Plan is published, Debbie Duncan and Sian Hayes examine the past, present and future of nursing in general practice

In recent weeks we have seen the publication of Health Education England’s General Practice Workforce Development Plan1. Its aim is to improve training available in general practice settings — raising the profile of general practice nurses (GPNs) is key to helping to retain and expand a position within the nursing profession which has previously been called a Cinderella role 1, 2. So why is the General Practice Workforce Development Plan such an important document? To understand the implication of it we need to look at the history of the GPN.

The role of GPNs has changed rapidly through the past few decades. They hold a key position within primary care, often reducing the stretch on general practitioners.3 Initially nurses were attracted to the role because of the regular hours and non-shift work,4 as well as the holistic approach of working with individuals and families and the variety of extended roles and responsibilities.

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