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New network for practice nurses

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Left to right: Heather Henry, co-vice chair NHS Al Left to right: Heather Henry, co-vice chair NHS Alliance, Louise Brady, practice nurse, Zoe Starmer, advanced nurse practitioner, and Louise Kay, practice nurse champion

A network to support practice nurses has been launched by the NHS Alliance.

The nurse-led General Practice Nurse network has been designed to 'promote and strengthen' the role of nurses in primary care, by enabling them to connect with each other as well as wider primary and community colleagues.

The network was set up by the NHS Alliance's co-vice chair Heather Henry and Louise Brady, the newly appointed special adviser at NHS Alliance and a practice nurse at Donneybrook Medical Centre.

Ms Henry said that practice nurses are the 'unsung stars' and that the true voice of practice nurses doesn't always come through. 'In all the meetings I go to about primary care, practice nurses are never mentioned. We have to draw out the best of what practice nurses do and [make others] realise that they are open for change, development and partnership.'

When nurses submit their interest in joining the network, they will be asked to fill out a short survey to gauge the things they would like the network to cover.

'We will be surveying practice nurses and I have told management that there will be no lull. We will complete the survey and we will then very quickly say what the nurses have said, and then shortly after we will be making plans. Early discussion indicates that key issues that practice nurses want to cover are revalidation, CPD and increasing student places in general practice,' said Ms Henry.

Ms Brady and Ms Henry expect the network to work with other nursing and healthcare organisations such as NHS England, Public Health England, Health Education England, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Care Quality Commission and the Queen's Nursing Institute. They will also work with the Scottish Practice Nursing Association to learn what other countries are doing and @WeGPNs to facilitate Twitter chats.

Ms Brady said: 'We know the time for a new practice nurse network is now. We must work to keep a high profile on practice nursing given the Five Year Forward View, and to influence how the recommendations of Lord Willis' report on pre-registration education are taken forward, to discuss how revalidation will affect us – and much more.'

Those interested in joining the network can email: gpn@nhsalliance.org with their name, role, employer, contact number and Twitter handle.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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