The future of general practice nursing: ARRS, DES and students
Shaun Heath analyses the development of the general practice nurse profession from the perspective of the current external forces that impinge on practice
As general practice nurses (GPNs) our minds are once again focused on the various contracts that are the fundamental bedrock of our work in primary care. Over the last 2 years, we have been preoccupied by the pandemic: setting up and working in hot or cold clinics; dealing with the fallout of broken recall registers; the increased demand of deteriorating long term conditions; and of course contributing to the hugely successful vaccination campaign. This year brings new contracts, new opportunities and, of course, new challenges to the workforce, but what are the next steps for our profession, and how should we develop both as a collective and as individuals?
Practice nursing is once again being quietly revolutionised, but are we all aware of the changes coming? Are we aware of the policy drivers and contractual arrangements that will govern the future of our work? Over recent years there have been numerous policy changes in the way primary care operates, and these will impinge on our future roles. It is important for general practice nurses (GPNs) to understand the various changes that are starting to happen so we can position ourselves in the best possible place to take full advantage, so we do not get left behind. This article will explore some of the key drivers which could threaten and/or enhance the role of the GPN. Chiefly:
These key drivers are a few items that mean the role of the GPN has to evolve to the demands and ever-changing landscape of primary care. Each item will be explored in turn. It is hoped that those reading this article will take the time to consider, reflect and discuss with colleagues, while considering the changes that they as individuals need to make but also how they can make a positive impact in their locality, teams and networks.
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