Innovative fast track training contracts to increase number of General Practice Nurses in Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes

In partnership with NHS England, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System (BLMK ICS) is offering ten fully funded fast track training contracts to attract qualified nurses into General Practices to meet a growing demand for their specialist nursing skills.

The programme provides a unique opportunity for qualified nurses to work in a training position within General Practice in the region, whilst studying the ‘Fundamental Skills and Knowledge for General Practice Nurses’ module at the University of Hertfordshire.

The training programme will equip the nurses with the skills and knowledge they need to develop a career in General Practice nursing. Once the course is completed, nurses will be supported to find employment within a GP Practice in Bedfordshire, Luton or Milton Keynes.

Dr. Denise Knight, Professional Lead: Primary Care Nursing/ Non-Medical Prescribing at the University of Hertfordshire says,

“Nurses who complete the General Practice nursing module will have a unique combination of practical nursing skills and academic grounding. They will be in high demand and be able to benefit from the many excellent career pathways available to General Practices nurses.”

Mel Gunstone, Assistant Director of Nursing and Quality and BLMK ICS General Practice Nurse Lead, said,

“General Practice Nursing is critical to supporting and delivering high quality patient care in the NHS. This new programme across BLMK ICS will increase the capacity and expertise within General Practice nurses across the region, offering and building progression opportunities within Primary care moving forward.  These are really exciting times for developing the future of General Practice nursing” 

The practices who participate in the programme will host the trainees and allocate nurse mentors to support and develop the nurses throughout their programme and release them for study time at the University.

Mel says,

“This is a new model of education and a unique opportunity for GP Practices and Primary Care Networks to employ a qualified nurse through NHSE England and BLMK ICS.  It will enable them to develop their own skilled practice nurse who can help support the existing general practice teams and add additional capacity.”

Jackie Marsden is GPN Lead at NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group and says,

“GP nursing is a fantastic career choice for nurses who are eager to learn and develop professionally, with an interest in all areas of healthcare. It’s a fairly autonomous role, as nurses may manage their own caseload, so a good degree of self-assurance, communication skills and confidence is needed.”

“During a typical day nurses could be giving vaccinations or cervical smears, dressing wounds or dealing with patients with long-term conditions such as respiratory diseases and diabetes. One of things I loved most about the role is the continuity of care and getting to know a patient and their family over many years. These relationships are key to providing great care.”

Jackie says this campaign is a fantastic way to boost general practice nurse numbers in the area and for nurses to gain the core competencies needed for general practice nursing, with the full support and mentorship of working in a practice.

She says,

“Practice nurses will be a key part of the workforce in the future, so it’s important to offer dedicated training and support to plug the current shortage gap. There are many career development opportunities, such as becoming an advanced nurse practitioner or independent nurse prescriber, far quicker than in a hospital environment. It’s an exciting time to be in general practice and I’d encourage any nurses with a passion for a varied and interesting career to apply for the training.”

Janet Thornley is a Nurse Practitioner at Walnut Tree Health Centre, Milton Keynes, a practice that wants to recruit a practice nurse.

Janet says,

“Walnut Tree is looking to develop a workforce for the future. General practice nursing has always been perceived as a mature role and there was very little opportunity for newly trained nurses to become practice nurses. Innovative training courses like this are changing things – bringing new nurses into the profession.”

Janet highlights the qualities needed for the role are enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and be adaptable, as well as wanting to make a difference to someone’s life.

The programme is a full-time six month training contract and nurses will be working in one of BLMK’s GP practices and be supported by the practice team to meet the skills and competencies. After six months and successful completion of the course, nurses will be supported to find a position in the local area.

The salary will be £24,214 (Band 5) and the closing date for applications is 26th April 2019. Early application is recommended as the post may close earlier if the right candidates are found. Interviews will take place at the end of May/early June and applicants must be available to start in September 2019.