Wales introduce new framework for development of general practice nurses

As reported by Nursing Times, a new framework has been launched in Wales to provide a “consistent approach” to the development of general practice nurses in the country

Those behind the new 178-page blueprint said they hoped the document “inspires and encourages nurses and employers alike to expand and enhance nursing career opportunities within primary care”. The voluntary education and practice standards, commissioned by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), include competencies for GPNs bands five to seven, alongside descriptions and definitions of nursing roles within this field.

Information provided within the ‘NHS Wales General Practice Nurse Framework’ is applicable to all registered nurses and employers in general practice, as well as those working within the wider primary care environment. The document flagged that previously there had been “no nationally agreed framework or standards for general practice nursing in Wales, despite the key role of GPNs in delivering primary care”.

Lisa Llewelyn, director of nurse and professional education at HEIW, said she was “delighted” to launch the document.

“This nationally agreed, well-designed framework offers clear and consistent standards; and an approach to guiding, enhancing skills and developing nursing roles to meet the care and support needs of people registered with practices across Wales,” she said.

The move recognised the “tremendous contribution and challenges faced by [GPNs] and their pivotal role in working with colleagues to deliver care closer to home”, she added.

“The document inspires and encourages nurses and employers alike to expand and enhance nursing career opportunities within primary care,” said Llewelyn.

Meanwhile, Sue Tranka, chief nursing officer for Wales, added: “It is a framework that every GPN and aspiring GPN can use within the wider primary care environment to ensure they can achieve the best quality of experience for patients, and the best health and wellbeing outcomes for their population.”

Tranka highlighted the “key role” GPNs played in “multidisciplinary teams, managing increased public expectations, growing demand in complex care, and significant workforce challenges”.

“This framework will help organisations to ensure that people with the right skills and competences are in the right roles to meet the future demand,” she added.

The document was developed through collaboration across all NHS Wales health boards, via the All-Wales Primary Care Lead Nurse Group. Chair of this group, Lynne Cronin, echoed that she was “very excited to see this long-awaited competency document being launched”.

“These voluntary standards of education and practice will enhance and provide consistency of care for the role and scope of general practice nursing in Wales,” she said.

“It will enable GPNs and employers to set and maintain the high standard of care that nurses provide our patients within general practice.”

The framework would also support nurses and their employers to “map out training needs and the educational requirements” required, to support the role of GPNs through to advance nurse practitioners, she added.

“It will support career progression and hopefully put general practice nursing on the map as being a first-choice career for nurses,” added Cronin.

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