Having had a glimpse of the world of practice nursing, SNT Student Editor Louise, is keen to find out more
I’ve always been interested in practice nursing. Being able to offer one to one time with patients and continuity of care is an amazing privilege.
Whilst I have yearned for a community nursing placement, I have started to think more and more about becoming a practice nurse and how a placement in this area could be beneficial in my studies and in helping me consider this potential career choice.
Having had much exposure to community nursing, I’m keen to have some form of practice nursing placement. I’ve enjoyed my clinic-based placements immensely. I enjoy the chance to talk to my patients without feeling that pressure you get on a ward to be running to your next job.
I decided to ask if this could be a possible placement for my third year and was very excited to be told yes, but surprised that these placements are few and far between. This seems a great shame and a missed opportunity for practice nurses to have students, keen students, who express an interest in their area.
Why are there so few placements?
I was told it’s due to costing, as practice nurses are employed by the general practitioner at the practice they work and not by the NHS. This surprised me but I could see how this could restrict the flexibility practice nurses have if it means they need additional funding to accept student nurses.
Not one to be deterred, I decided to apply for a placement.
Once I’d applied, I was excited to be asked if I would like to attend a practice nursing conference organised by Gill Boast, an experience practice nurse. I was so happy to be invited, what a privilege to be able to have an insight into what I consider a niche environment for nurses.
Dr Lisa Bayliss Pratt, Director of Nursing for HEE, would be a speaker and other nurses, including my tutor, would have a chance to discuss practice nursing, student placements, and the future of practice nursing as a whole.
The day was brilliant. I was able to talk to students who had been lucky enough to have had practice nursing placements and they told me what an exciting time they had, the diversity, challenges, and opportunities to see things you couldn’t in a hospital setting.
After the conference, I see practice nursing to be the future of nursing, in the sense that for the majority of patients a nurse within their GP surgery could be the first port of call. Practice nurses offer health promotional advice, health services, immunisations, sexual health advice, treat wounds, coughs, colds and sneezes - the list is endless - a day wouldn’t go by without seeing a broad range of patients.
I would encourage any student looking at having a practice nurse placement to really give it consideration, attend a conference run by your local practice nursing forum and speak to nurses with a passion for this area of nursing.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a placement in my third year. Having listened to nurses speaking at the event and the challenges they face, mainly with funding for their own progression, I was not put off as I believe you make the most out of any situation.
Come on GPs, let your practice nurses have students!
Louise Goodyear is Student NT’s Adult Branch student editor