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Refreshing general practice

08 October 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 18


Mark Gourlay was an MSc Adult Nursing (Pre-registration) Student, University of Dundee, and is now General Practice Nurse, Taycourt Surgery, Dundee

In the NHS, 90% of patients have contact with general practice during their care journey, and much of that journey is managed by general practice nurses (GPNs) (Brown, 2017). In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the need to reinvent and refresh the GPN role. This requires undergraduate nursing education to focus on prevention and managing chronic diseases within primary care, whereas education is often seen as favouring hospital-based nursing (Walsh and Mason, 2018). Giving nursing students experience of primary care would allow insight into the GPN role and present this as a possible career choice (Walsh and Mason, 2018).

A major challenge facing general practice is employing and retaining GPNs (Lewis et al, 2019). An online survey highlighted that one-third of GPNs are expected to retire by 2020, with 40% of GP practices indicating they were lacking appropriately qualified staff to provide patient care (Bradby and McCallum, 2015).

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