We are currently working towards becoming an Integrated Care System (ICS) as set in the Government’s white paper and a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan. The aim of the ICS is to deliver better, more integrated care for patients. We are now expected to become statutory bodies by April 2022. ICS’s also have the potential to drive improvements in population health and tackle health inequalities by reaching beyond the NHS to work alongside local authorities and other partners to address social and economic determinants of health.
GCCG is required to review the overall structure moving into the ICS. During this period of change, we have an exciting opportunity to consider a longer term sustainable model focusing on promoting learning and development, mentorship, support our new to practice and newly qualified nursing staff and the primary care workforce.
The GDOC Parachute Nursing service commissioned by GCCG offers support to practices in crisis under set criteria. The lead contact for the service is email@example.com
Helen Acock, Clinical Learning and Development Matron is the lead contact for all nursing and health care support workers Countywide. Helen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Read one Nurse’s journey from Newly Qualified to Primary Care as a Practice Nurse.
Thinking about becoming a Nurse?
For information about routes to qualification from the NMC Click Here >
Additional information about becoming a General Practice Nurse can be found here
Non-Medical / Independent Prescribing
These websites may be useful for more information:
NM Prescribing Click here >
University of the West of England Click here >
Nursing & Midwifery Council – Standards for medicine management Click here >
NMC Professional Conduct https://www.nmc.org.uk/standards/code/
NMC Revalidation http://revalidation.nmc.org.uk/
Advanced Clinical Practitioners
These websites may be useful for more information;
Particularly useful are the competency frameworks for General Practice Advanced Nurses Click Here > to download them.
HEE Advanced Clinical Practice: Click Here >
General Practice Nursing 10 point plan: Click Here >
A joint framework released by the RCGP and HEE provides core capabilities clarity for advanced level nurses in primary care/general practice. The framework can be used by practices to assess competencies and develop career pathways where relevant for Advancing Clinical Practice.
Severe Mental Health – Free online training support
The Nursing Associate role is a new support role that will sit alongside existing healthcare support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients. Following huge interest some 2,000 people are now in training with providers across England.
This document from HEE explains the role and function of Nurse Associates in General Practice to view Click here >
These websites may be useful for more information:
HEE developing our workforce – nursing associates: Click Here >
Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) – nursing associates: Click Here >
Royal College of Nursing – become a nursing associate: Click Here >
Meet the Nursing Associates
The below video clearly depicts the role and responsibilities of a Nursing Associate, making it a useful recourse for Practices/PCNs to help explain to Patients what a Nursing Associate is.
Nursing Associate Q&A – Michelle Nicholls
What first attracted you to a career in nursing?
I was first introduced to the idea of becoming an NA when I had a job interview for the role of a receptionist at a GP practice. During my interview, I was told how other members of staff who had worked in the administration team had gone on to train in phlebotomy. This sparked an interest in me to expand my own role once I had taken up a position at the surgery.
After working as a receptionist, I then moved to work in administration, before becoming a prescriptions clerk, where I learnt all about different kinds of medication and their uses. During each step of my journey, I was asking the question ‘why?’; I wanted to know why people had to be referred to certain departments, why they had to have certain blood tests for different diagnoses and how that would help with a particular condition. I was then offered a chance to train in venepuncture and phlebotomy and this then fuelled my passion for wanting to know more, and I ended up becoming a Healthcare Assistant (HCA), completing my Care certificate.
During one of my CPD courses, a lecturer at the university mentioned the Trainee Nurse Associate career. Intrigued, I approached the practice manager and partners back at my base GP surgery and asked if they would be willing to allow me to do the training. I put forward my case of how it would benefit the surgery, staff and patients and the practice agreed to support me.
How did you find the training journey to qualify as a Nursing Associate?
I have been a qualified NA for a year now, with my journey starting back in September 2018 at St. George’s University, London. The first few months felt quite overwhelming, when I was introduced to all the different modules I would have to study. I wasn’t quite sure how I would fit studying in around my work and family life. I have two children, and my husband was working abroad at the time, so I had to learn very quickly how to time manage and juggle my time.
During the apprenticeship my time was split between my base workplace and six placement workplaces. Your base placement is where you are usually employed and where your mentor is located, who ensures you have the support you need within the practice. Each placement had so much to offer in terms of learning and I have been able to take something from every placement and use those skills in my role at the GP surgery. I time spent with a health visiting team, a care home, two hospital wards (one surgical, one medical), a mental health ward, and (as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) for my last placement I was redeployed to a COVID-19 hot clinic.
Every module I studied had a lead lecturer who was a fantastic support and was able to guide me on the correct path. As I hadn’t studied since I was 18, I struggled to get back into the habit of writing academically; however, my lecturers supported me with this and I qualified with a distinction – my proudest moment.
Was your TNA course funded via the apprenticeship levy?
Yes, the course was funded through the apprenticeship levy and the St. George’s Fund.
What does a typical day look like working as a Nursing Associate?
The NA role bridges the gap between an HCA and a registered nurse. Every day is varied; I can be asked to run clinics for vaccinations or see patients to monitor their long term conditions. Throughout the day I can be faced with cervical screening, wound dressings, baby immunisations, phlebotomy, NHS Health Checks, weight management, and mental health reviews. I also assist with minor operations.
Does the Nursing Associate role fit in well in General Practice?
The role of an NA and the broadness of the qualification suits general practice well as we see patients of all ages – from new-borns to end of life care, and everything that happens in-between. The NA in general practice is able to have a full, holistic view of the patient over a number of years, especially if the patient does not move away from the area.
How does the role of a Nursing Associate differ from a Healthcare Assistant?
Once you are a qualified NA, you can access further training to help the registered nurse with additional procedures outside of the HCA remit. You will also gain a deeper understanding of the systems within the body, studying how they work and what happens when things go wrong.
NAs are able to help people with long term conditions by having that deeper knowledge. The registered nurse is able to pass patients onto the NA to continue their care once a care plan has been created for that patient. The NA can then monitor the patient going forwards.
There is never a ‘typical’ day in the life of an NA in a GP practice!
What is the best part of your job?
Having a better understanding of the conditions my patients have has allowed me to provide them with care and support that is more individual to them. I enjoy caring for my patients and being able to help them to the best of my ability.
I like allowing my patients to feel that they have been listened to and by getting to know our patients well, we can provide a more personalised care experience.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future in your career?
Since qualifying I was asked by the practice to lead on immunisations, weight management and be the veteran’s friendly practice champion, which helps veterans who join the practice to find help for their mental wellbeing. I also mentor the HCAs in the practice.
I have also undertaken the role of Nurse Associate Ambassador for Health Education England and am in the process of setting up a support forum for fellow TNA’s, NA’s, and HCA’s who are interested in the NA role within our local borough.
Going forwards, I would like to qualify as a registered nurse, but if this were to happen I would still want to support and be an advocate for the vital work of the NA within primary care.
What are your ‘top tips’ for someone thinking about becoming a Nursing Associate?
➡️ Be prepared and well organised – take every opportunity to gain new skills and learn from those who want to teach you.
➡️ Enjoy each step of the course – it will show through when you use the skills you have learnt to treat your patients.
➡️ Always ask yourself why – this will help you to learn the skills you are taught and apply them in practice.
I thoroughly enjoy my job. I look forward to going to work more than I have ever done because I know that I am helping every patient I see, even if it’s only by a small amount. I am so glad I chose the NA career path.