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Voluntary standards published for new general practice nurses

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New GPN The new standards will enable practice nursing to evolve as a profession, and make its contribution to transforming primary care services

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has published new voluntary standards of education and practice for nurses, who are starting a career in general practice nursing.

The QNI said the new standards had been designed to provide ‘a contemporary and structured overview of expected best practice, standards and guidance for nurses at the beginning of the general practice nursing career pathway’.

The standards also aimed to give guidance to ‘education providers developing introductory general practice nursing (GPN) programmes and Specialist Practitioner Qualification (SPQ) programmes’, the QNI said.

The QNI was commissioned by NHS England to develop the standards, as one of the actions arising from the strategic document: ‘Developing confidence, capability and capacity: Ten point action plan for General Practice Nursing’.

Leading experts in general practice nursing including nurses, Higher Education Institution (HEI) programme leads, training hub leads and current GPN students worked together to develop the new standards. The project was managed by Queen’s Nurse, Angie Hack.

The evolving role of the GPN with specialist knowledge and skills is pivotal in contributing to the success of the transformation of primary care services, the QNI said.

However, ‘this brings unique challenges for nurses selecting general practice nursing. Many GPNs are directly employed by general practitioners with variations in roles, responsibilities, terms and conditions, in addition to variances in role preparation and continuing professional development opportunities’, the QNI stated.

Current GPN education is not mandatory. However, it is anticipated that HEIs will adopt these voluntary standards as a best practice guide in developing future ‘Introduction to GPN’ programmes, to promote standardisation in length and content across England.

The standards have been drafted covering four domains of clinical care, leadership and management, facilitation of learning and evidence, research and development.

QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said: ‘I am delighted that we are able to publish these new voluntary standards to support nurses new to general practice.

‘Nurses are key professionals in delivering vital care to people of all ages in the practice population. They are also being called upon to adapt rapidly to the new conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘These new standards commissioned by NHS England are an important step in ensuring greater consistency of education and practice in this field, supporting the needs and expectations of nurses themselves, other members of the multidisciplinary team, and their patients.’

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