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Student practice nurse placements must increase to avoid crisis

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Students must be encouraged to go into practice Students must be encouraged to go into general practice

Without a large increase in the number of student nurses encouraged to work in practice settings, the primary care workforce could fall into crisis, a leading workforce expert has said.

Speaking to Independent Nurse at the Midlands and East General Practice Nurse conference on 25 Feburary, Dr Peter Lane, a GP in Barnsley and the clinical lead for Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber, 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.'

Dr Lane was a co-developer of the Advanced Training Practice scheme, which promotes practice nursing placements for student nurses. The scheme, sometimes known as the 'hub and spoke' model, is centred around eight administrative hub practices, which provide six- to 14-week placements for student nurses across Yorkshire and the Humber. There also a number of 'spoke' practices, which are supported by the hub practices to take on student placements.

The scheme aims to provide 700 placements in practices each year by 2016. It has been highly successful in changing career ambitions for student nurses, with over 80% of participants saying that they would consider practice nursing as a career. Dr Lane and his team received the 2014 HSJ workforce award for their work on promoting general practice.

Dr Lane added: 'Often, practice nursing was not considered as a career by students. That needs to change if we are going to cope with the future of the NHS.'

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

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agree with the above 2 comments. additional dutities that are the governments priorities must reflect in the nurses pay!
Posted by: ,
Something certainly needs to be done sooner rather than later! With the current discussion going on regarding extended practice nurse working hours to include working evenings and weekends there will be an exodus of practice nurses like myself who are within 4-5 years of retirement! We are ALREADY working hours beyond our paid salary in order to keep on top of workloads and the RELENTLESS changes to policies and schedules which we have to learn and know for our hugely multi skilled roles. Primary care nurses have to attend an increasing amount of compulsory study days as well as study days in their own specialty/specialities in order to keep up with ongoing clinical based evidence changes, these study days are more often than not done in our own unpaid time, certainly in my case anyway! Do not think for one minute that as soon as our practice doors shut to our last patient of the day that the clinical staff put their coats on and go home, we do not! You will still find us there working after hours, doing work which can not be possibly be done whilst your clinics are running, usually this is all the 'paperwork' we have to keep on top of and which is a very important part of our primary care service in order to deliver appropriate up to date care. There is no such thing as 'non contact time' anymore, (a time period when we do not see patients and paperwork can be done) we are just too busy for that, so this work has to be done in our own 'unpaid' time! I have been known to still be at work at 8.30pm when my shift finished at 7pm and when I leave some of the gp's are still there too, doing exactly what I was doing 'paperwork'! By wanting to extend our contracted hours to include late nights and weekends in order to see more patients this will inevitably extend the amount of our 'unpaid' time we will need to put in to keep up with this extra workload!
We are constantly being told 'there is no money' this will be my 6th year without a pay increase yet the workload is constantly increasing.
The case for extending primary care hours has to be looked at VERY carefully indeed, I am more than aware there is a huge demand for A/E services and they too are stretched to the limit, but VERY experienced nurses like myself who are 'Valuable' to the gp's and the practice will leave in volume if we are pressurised in to working extended hours, Especially if we are not rewarded with 'unsocial hours' !
Posted by: ,
I echo Kim Wood's comments. Pay & conditions for PNs need to be addressed. Practice Nurses should be directly employed by the NHS with properly funded training, updates & pay for the role the government wants them to provide.
Posted by: ,
are these student nurses to be made aware they will not be employed by the nhs but by the gp ? this can mean they are paid less than the rate in secondary care , some do not give 5 weeks leave ,may have to use annual leave to undertake update days/study leave , not get annual pay rises or incremental rises & no cost of living payments. also many of the jobs are part time.i have spent over 25 years in general practice as a practice nurse & love the job but the issues i have raised need to be addressed
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