Nearly 200 practice nurses gathered at the Alton Towers hotel on 24 and 25 February for the inaugural Midlands and East General Practice Nurse Conference, to strengthen collaboration between nurses in the region.
The event was opened by Karen Storey, primary care nurse lead at Health Education West Midlands and chair of the General Practice Nursing workforce subgroup of Transforming Nursing for Community and Primary Care at HEE, who explained that the aim of the day was to create networks of practice nurses across the region to share examples of innovation and best practice, and to support one another in providing compassionate care.
Revalidation,which will be implemented by the NMC at the end of this year, was one of the main topics discussed across the two days. The first presentation titled, 'Where is your evidence', was given by Ruth Burey, a learning and development facilitator at the RCN. The presentation explained what nurses will need to include in a revalidation portfolio. The second presentation by Ms Burey, given the following day, was based on practical examples of writing reflective pieces. Nurses will be required to include these in their portfolio.
A presentation given by Kellie Johnson and Kirsty Millard, nurses from Stoke and Solihull CCGs, discussed how they and their colleagues were preparing for the introduction of revalidation.
The future of practice nursing was also discussed in a number of presentations.
A session on the Five Year Forward View, hosted by Ruth Auton, a workforce manager at Health Education East Midlands, explained what the publication means for primary care nurses. Particular reference was made to the proposed multispeciality community provider model outlined in the report.
Paul Vaughan, the RCN's regional director for the East Midlands, spoke about the role nurse leaders play in preserving the profession.
Dr Pete Lane, clinical lead for Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber, has developed a new model of student nurse placements, which led to a large increase in the number of placements in general practice, he said. Dr Lane said: 'Most people think that there is a crisis in GP numbers, but there is also a problem with practice nursing. As more nurses retire, there will not be enough practice nurses to fill the gaps. GPs need to understand that without the support of a practice nursing workforce, they may not survive.'
Elaine Biscoe, the CQC's national nursing advisor, spoke about how the organisation carries out inspections of general practice, and attempted to clarify any points that were unclear to the audience about the inspection process.
Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the QNI, gave an after-dinner speech on Tuesday evening, which highlighted the important role of practice nurses, and explained how the QNI's initiatives support them. This included the production of a 20:20 view report on practice nursing, the launch of resources for practice nurses to support carers, and the suggestion that the creators of the @WeNurses Twitter group could start a separate @WePracticeNurses group.
The conference concluded with a masterclass given by Susan Fairlie, visiting professor of quality improvement within the Institute of Health and Society and Worcester University, on the links between values, behaviours, high-quality care and organisational effectiveness.