Just 1.6% of practice nurses are nurse partners in a GP practice according to new research from the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI).
The charity surveyed 3405 nurses about their roles as a practice nurse and unveiled the results in a report titled General Practice Nursing in the 21st Century: A Time of Opportunity.
Speaking at the launch, Candace Imison, head of policy at the Nuffield Trust, was struck by the lack of nurse partners, nurse-led practices or nurses on CCG boards demonstrated in the report. ‘This report is a massive opportunity for nursing. I am struck by how few nurses are independent prescribers and this is where nurses have the edge over other workforces.’
In a poll carried out by Independent Nurse, 81% of respondents said they would become nurse partners if given the opportunity.
When the discussion was moved to Twitter, a number of nurses agreed that more nurses needed to be in leadership roles. The QNI said that it would be interesting to see whether the practices with nurse partners were more innovative with new models of care.
Louise Brady, a practice nurse from Manchester and co-creator of the NHS Alliance’s practice nurse network, said that she was aware that there were practice managers and pharmacists in partner roles but very few practice nurses.
Louise Marriott, a nurse partner in a GP practice in Somerset, would encourage nurses to consider partnership but acknowledges that not all are suited to the role. ‘I don’t believe partnership is for everyone and it is important to have an interest in the business and strategic side of health care. The move to partnership should not be viewed as a clinical promotion and is not solely suited to the most able or advanced practitioners,’ she said.
Carol Stonham MBE, a specialist nurse practitioner from Gloucestershire, however, said that ‘to influence change [nurses can] look for opportunities outside of practice. Nurse partnership might restrict these openings’.
It was also acknowledged at the launch of the report that there could be more nurse-led practices such as Cuckoo Lane in West London. The practice, run by nurse practitioners Julie Belton and Carol Sears, is one of the only nurse-led practices in the country and was rated outstanding by the CQC in April 2015.
Karen Storey, practice nurse lead at Health Education West Midlands, told Independent Nurse in August 2015, that Cuckoo Lane had been identified by the primary care commission as an ‘alternative staffing model that can be used to deliver high-quality care’.