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How can I make a career change to practice nursing?

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I am a health visitor and I am considering a career change to practice nursing. A lot of the posts require skills I do not possess and I have not been able to find any courses. Please help!

There are many ways in which you can access modules and courses to become a practice nurse. But undertaking a formal programme is not the only or even the most common approach, as there are a number of ways of becoming a practice nurse which will build on your existing experience and knowledge.

There are innovative modules and courses that address the need for a structured induction programme for staff entering community and practice nursing. Many universities offer part-time and distance elements.

Some universities run a foundation in community and practice nursing programme.

This usually comprises a number of mandatory core days with option days that cover clinical skills, such as ear care and asthma. The RCN accredits a BSc degree in nursing practice.

While there are specialist practitioner courses at various universities, studying one is generally not a prerequisite for working as a practice nurse. You could spend time shadowing a practice nurse to gain an understanding of the role.

It is often not necessary to do a course prior to getting a job and you will probably have many skills, such as prescribing qualifications, that are transferable.

While undertaking work-based practice or shadowing, you might take advantage of courses that complement your practical skills such
as asthma updates, smear instruction and vaccinations. This will enhance the skill levels you say are lacking. You should contact your local PCT practice nurse facilitator for advice and support. They will know about specific courses and any work that is available locally.
There is a practice nurse forum at www.practicenursing.co.uk where you will find personal accounts from nurses who have moved into this field, job opportunities and more.

Chris Pearce, formerly a director of nursing, is a life coach with lifegoalspecialists.co.uk

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