We have caught up with the Practice Nursing Award shortlist ahead of this year’s General Practice Awards, run by our publisher Cogora, which will be held on 9 December at a glitzy ceremony at Novotel London West.
The first entry under the spotlight from this year’s shortlist of five is St Stephen’s Gate Medical Practice Nursing Team in Norwich, Norfolk.
The nursing team at St Stephen’s Gate have demonstrated the 6Cs in abundance, showing imagination, innovation, and intelligence, while also striving to provide the highest possible level of patient care.
They face every challenge with a can-do attitude, seamlessly integrating new members of the team, and displaying skill and professionalism in emergency situations in recent years. They have shown courage and adaptability, being available for patients throughout the unprecedented and unknown challenges of the pandemic, while also supporting each other, the rest of the staff at the practice, and patients, consistently putting others before themselves.
The desire, diligence and conscientiousness of this team to provide the best care, and support the staff at the practice, has seen multiple areas of progression, despite the challenges faced.
During the pandemic, the nursing team were instrumental in organising, coordinating, leading, and delivering Covid vaccination clinics at the practice, giving up their own time to deliver vaccinations to other sites, including housebound patients, and care home staff and residents.
The infection prevention and control lead and the deputy lead are both members of the nursing team, who were integral to establishing two clinical sites, including a ‘clean hub’ to protect the most vulnerable patients, and the addition of a quarantined ‘isolation’ treatment room to safely see both Covid positive patients and those presenting with key symptoms.
Despite the challenges research has faced throughout the pandemic, the team has still managed to be a part of, among others, Covid testing studies, serology studies, the PANORAMIC study, and a study investigating the psychological effects of Covid. The team recognised research and development as fundamental parts of improving patient care, and advocated for research within primary care, while St Stephen’s research nurse continued with existing studies such as BARRACK D (CKD study).
The team has also seamlessly integrated a new Health Care Assistant, Trainee Nurse Associate, a Practice Nurse new to general practice, and a Physicians Associate, supporting these individuals on various educational pathways, and assisting them with their development, and advancement of their roles.
Meanwhile, they continued to educate medical students and GP registrars throughout the pandemic, including taking on additional student doctors during their elective placements.
Since the end of Covid restrictions, the nursing team has made a gargantuan effort to increase screening availability, including cervical smears, the uptake of which has increase on pre-Covid levels. The team also reviewed the practice’s cervical screening policy, making calls to non-responders and successfully encouraging even reluctant patients to make appointments.
All of this has resulted in glowing reviews from patients, as well as colleagues and paramedics.
What they said
‘The team are both humbled and proud at the same time at being shortlisted for this prestigious award. It is an honour, and we are pleased that it is the whole team that has been nominated as teamwork is paramount. We think that when a team is singled out, it actually means the whole practice has contributed. In the end, it is about patient care and the daily thanks we receive from patients are also a marvellous testament to the work of the team.’
Last year, Maggi Bradley, a practice nurse from Lancashire, received the Practice Nursing Award in part for setting up video group clinics (VCGs) after noticing patients ‘were beginning to manifest feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.