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Are practice nurses part of the solution to the emergency department crisis?

  • Comments (4)

The rhetoric of providing health care in the community, away from hospital, has been with us for years but the recent media coverage of problems in EDs illustrates how little progress has been made in shifting care from hospitals to primary care services.

It is evident that community and social services are failing to meet demand and with a shortage of GPs and community nurses there is a growing acknowledgement that practice nurses have a critical role patient care and preventing hospital admission.

The problem is that practice nursing is considered by many as a dead end job with few career opportunities and still not regarded as an option for newly qualified nurses. However there are practice nurses across the country working in autonomous roles, as advanced nurse practitioner and developing new models of service. They have an invaluable role in managing long terms conditions and providing continuity of care.

This week I visited Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber who have recognised the potential of practice nurses and are working to change perceptions and engage student nurses in general practice as a career pathway. However many students do not have the opportunity to work in general practice during their training and the myth that you must have acute experience before working in the community still prevails in many areas.

Practices nurses are going to play a vital role in managing and delivering patient care in the future and the  roles and opportunities that are emerging in general practice provide exciting opportunities.

If you sit in my GP’s surgery and watch the way the practice nurses greet their patients it is clear that continuity of care brings with it great satisfaction and reassurance for patients. Ensuring we have enough practice nurses to sustain these relationships with patients is clearly part of the solution to the ED crisis.

  • Comments (4)

Readers' comments (4)

  • as a practice nurse myself, i find that my job is becoming demanding as more and more care is pushed into the community.

    as a student, there was no placement in a gp setting, we did do community (but was only district nursing). i was lucky enough that my district nurse mentor did arrange for me to work in a gp surgery for a day which cemented, for me, where i wanted to go with my career.

    since then, i have had several students in with me for clinics to give them the same chance.

    my patients agree that continuous care from 1 nurse is amazing and you do get to build a better relationship with them. plus there is the additional extra of them being more open with you and getting a better overview when they do start feeling ill, which leads to better care and better results

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  • Anonymous

    I hope not.

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  • Anonymous

    Sorry no you are missing the point completely. People do not find the outdated GP service acceptable. Blood tests, x-Rays, and the reassurance of a proper physical assessment in a timely manner are the attraction of A/E depts. waiting 2 weeks to see a GP and returning for a nurse appt, recently 4 week wait at our local Practice, for blood tests is useless when patients work long hours. People will wait in excess of four hours for what they perceive is a quality service!

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  • Anonymous

    Hope not otherwise lets do away with ED's and shift all the care into the community. No I don't think so either!

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