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General Practice Nursing Education – what’s new?


General Practice Nursing Education – what’s new?

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) General Practice Nursing (GPN) Team, within the Medical Directorate, is privileged to engage with over 1500 GPNs across Scotland. Providing the most current, evidence based, person-centred education for them to access.

One of our bigger projects over the past few months has been the new GPN Education Pathway. The highly successful GPN Programme, while celebrating its years of success, it was recognised to no longer be sustainable in our current hybrid working world and ever-changing General Practice. Building upon the achievements of the programme and maintaining its ethos, we took all we learned forward to design and deliver a new learning opportunity for more nurses in General Practice.   

Our great working relationship with Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, supported the GPN Education Pathway proposal, its authentic assessment process seamlessly aligned with their marking attributes and assessment regulations. The Pathway has similarities to the GP Specialist training programme which allows nurses a ‘day release’ of 4 hours protected learning time each week and an additional 6 hours per week of work-based learning opportunities. The Pathway is designed around the Four pillars of Practice and the CNOD Transforming Roles – Papers 5 and 6. On completion of the pathway each learner will receive 60 academic credits at Honours level.  Learning from the GPN Programme, we continue with the fundamental components, the highest quality of evidence based person-centred care at the heart of our education which is at the heart of the GPN role. 

Unit 1 of the Pathway identifies and develops the importance of strong and robust consultation and communication skills as a core component of the GPN role. Unit 2 focuses on the management of Long-Term Conditions in Primary Care with the inclusion of the CPD Connect respiratory modules, while recognising the social determinants of health and its impact on Public Health. Unit 3 will include the (new for 2023) CPD Connect Diabetes module and full access to the Scottish Improvement Foundation Skills (SIFS) programme. This introduces Quality Improvement (QI) principles to nurses early in their career or allows them to recognise their current practice and how it can positively impact on patient care through Quality improvement (QI). Ribboned through the 12-month Pathway are the current components of the GPN role in many other areas including Sexual and Reproductive Health, Cardiovascular Disease, Dementia and Frailty, Difficult consultations, and Supporting Self-Management, all enabling nurses to develop their knowledge and skills set. 

There is no doubt the Pathway is fast paced and intense, the academic aspects can be challenging for any learner. We create a community of learning with Faculty and Peer support, delivered in a hybrid approach. Based on Blooms Taxonomy and a flipped classroom learning style, the structured formative work supports the 3 summative submissions. The faculty includes us the NES GPN Team, along with Academic Assessors and Clinical Facilitators who are highly skilled and experienced nurses working in General Practice who engage with NES for this role. In line with the NMC standards the nurses have clinical support in their employing practice from a named Practice Assessor/Supervisor who has regular contact with their learner’s faculty.

It is a challenging time for all health care staff and General Practice are under immense pressure, this Pathway offers an opportunity for GPN’s to have Scottish Government funded education with a clear structured approach to their learning. 

The role of the GPN is a unique and wonderful profession – and the NES education available will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the people we serve and their working teams.

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General Practice Nursing Education – what’s new?