Collaboration and speaking up about the value of practice nursing was the key theme of a networking event held by the NHS Alliance general practice nurse network.
The main aim of the event was to create networking opportunites for practice nurses in the Manchester area and to create links with GPs, practice managers and other primary healthcare professionals.
Heather Henry, the co-vice chair of the NHS Alliance and one of the founders of the network, said: 'People need to understand the value of the practice nurse. It's becoming urgent now as more nurses are nearing retirement and there aren't enough new student nurses coming in to fill the vacancies. We've heard about national plans for physician associates and community pharmacists but have yet to hear about anything for practice nurses.'
The event was attended by around 50 practice nurses, GPs, practice managers and patients. The nurses also had the opportunity to contribute to a video about the role of practice nurses and what they love about the profession.
Ivan Benett, the clinical director of Central Manchester CCG and a GP, said that practice nurses need to be nurtured to become a speciliast workforce. 'As a GP I would like to see a skilled workforce. Nurses need to have the confidence to take leadership roles. They are a more powerful workforce than they think they are.'
The event began with a number of speakers including a patient, a GP and other nurses. The variety of speakers reflected that nurses should network with all professionals in primary care to encourage more students into practice nursing.
'It has been a great opportunity to get practice nurse voices heard. Practice nursing is a great first career destination and we need to spread that word among student nurses,' said Anne Moger, the primary care nurse advisor for NHS England.Ms Henry said that she would be keen to host other networking events across the country with the support of CCGs and other practice nurses.