Nurse training & education

“The general practice nursing workforce must be at the forefront of leading change by delivering better health outcomes in primary care, and by making primary care ‘the place to be’ for ambitious nurses who deliver world class care and support our population to live well.” Health Education England

The role of the nurse in General Practice in Somerset is crucial to the ways in which health services will need to change in response to NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View’ and the new models of care that are proposed.

Watch the HEE YouTube video “Thinking of becoming a general practice nurse?” where GPNs talk about their everyday work.

There is a growing recognition that GPN is a rapidly expanding speciality in nursing, reflecting the shift in health care delivery from secondary to primary care over the last two decades. However it has been difficult for nurses to make the transition to general practice because a unique knowledge and skill set is required.

Now the situation is changing and there are exciting career developments for Practice Nurses in Somerset.

Transition to General Practice Nursing is a free online learning resource from the Queen’s Nursing Institute to support nurses who are new to General Practice based on the knowledge and expertise of nurses and educators working in the profession.

The Shape of Caring Review recommended developing a new nurse associate role to work alongside existing healthcare and support workers and registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients.

Some 2,000 Nursing Associates have begun training and Somerset is a second wave pilot site, with General Practice being part of the pilot. Somerset practices have started to employ Trainee Nursing Associates under the Apprenticeship programme and the first one is due to qualify in June 2020. Read all about the new role here.

For further information either contact us or head to the NMC and RCN websites.

Advanced Practice is a level of practice, rather than a type of practice. Advanced Nurse Practitioners are educated at Masters Level in clinical practice and have been assessed as competent in practice using their expert clinical knowledge and skills. They have the freedom and authority to act, making autonomous decisions in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients.

To be able to work at an advanced level of nursing practice, nurses need to meet a number of standards which are described on the RCN website.

  • Advanced Level Nursing: A Position Paper describes the level of practice expected of nurses working at advanced level who provide direct care to patients, clients, service users or populations. It has provided a benchmark for all stakeholders to use to make informed judgements regarding the required scope, level of practice and associated competence of nurses working at advanced level.
  • Competences: Advanced Nurse Practitioners, an RCN Guide includes a definition of the ANP role, the RCN’s revised domains and competencies for ANPs in the UK.
  • The NMC Standards of Proficiency for Nurse and Midwifery Prescribers for Advanced Nurse Practitioners, provide the standards and proficiencies for the programmes of preparation for nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses to prescribe as either a community practitioner nurse prescriber or a nurse independent/supplementary prescriber. In addition, it provides standards of conduct required for practice as a registered nurse prescriber.
  • Nurse Practitioner UK – a site for Advanced Nurse Practitioners.
  • There is also NICE Guidance for Prescribers which offers guidance, advice and support for delivering quality, safety and efficiency in the use of medicines.
  • General Practice: Developing Confidence, Capability and Capacity (July 2017) is a ten point action plan for General Practice Nursing, describing the nursing element of the General Practice Forward View.
  • The Future of Primary Care: creating teams for tomorrow.
  • The Shape of Caring Review (‘Raising the Bar‘) from HEE found a wealth of excellent practice in the education and training of care assistants and registered nurses but also found variability.  The NMC has already embarked on a fundamental review of the skills and competencies that future nurses will be expected to meet for pre-registration that aims to ensure that future training reflects the changing health and care landscape, the blurring of professional boundaries and the increased expectations of nurses’ capabilities.
  • The General Practice Nursing, Workforce Development Plan from HEE (March 2017) recommends raising the profile of General Practice Nursing, improving training capacity by providing access to accredited training, increasing the number of placements in general practice, offering a specific general practice ‘return to practice’ programme and developing GPN educator and leadership roles and mentorship programmes.
  • A short film to accompany the framework presents a Day in the Life of a General Practice Nurse:

At Somerset Primary Care Training Hub we believe that the workforce is the main asset of the NHS in Somerset and that workforce education and training are the major levers for sustaining and improving the quality of patient care. We are constantly working on various events and programmes to strengthen the nursing workforce.

It is important that practices support learners and students and encourage newly qualified nurses to want a career in General Practice. Somerset Training Hub is working with the placement coordinators in the following Universities: PlymouthExeter, Bournemouth and UWE to increase the number of student placements in General Practice. If you are a student looking to gain experience in Primary Care and would like a placement in a GP Practice in Somerset, please contact usIf your practice is interested in offering placements please email

The benefit of a Placement in General Practice, a quote from a third year student nurse from Plymouth University:

“My final sign off placement was in Primary Care at Redgate & Somerset Bridge Surgery, in Bridgwater, Somerset, and it honestly changed my whole outlook on nursing. I was so grateful to have finished my journey as a student in that practice. I have never been allocated a placement so beneficial or useful to my training and I want every student to experience what I did. Prior to this I did not get the best from my placements but this placement made me the autonomous and competent practitioner that I honestly thought I would never be, and I will do anything I can do to help encourage students into primary care”.

Cassie Colebrooke, Third year student, July 2019