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New preceptorship and clinical supervision policy for NHS nurses in Wales

New preceptorship and clinical supervision policy for NHS nurses in Wales

A new preceptorship and clinical supervision mandate for NHS nurses in Wales should be seen as a ‘benchmark for good practice’ by GP surgeries across the country, the Welsh Government has said.

Chief nursing officer (CNO) for Wales Sue Tranka has unveiled plans for ‘career-spanning’ support for nurses employed by NHS Wales – which largely covers those working for health boards and trusts.

NHS organisations have been mandated by the CNO to introduce a preceptorship programme for newly registered nurses and a framework of restorative clinical supervision to ensure support for nurses throughout their careers.

In a national position statement released last month, Ms Tranka said she expected a ‘phased implementation’ and for organisations to provide a ‘proposed schedule of adoption’ by 1 July 2024.

The Welsh Government confirmed the mandate would be applicable to general practice nurses (GPNs) employed by NHS Wales, however it is understood that the majority of the workforce is employed directly by their GP practices.

As of September 2023, 1,443 nurses were employed by GP practices in Wales.

A Welsh Government spokesperson told Nursing in Practice: ‘We are committed to providing the NHS with the well-supported workforce it needs.

‘While this document has been developed to support nurses employed by NHS Wales, the prescribed approach is applicable to, and would benefit, cross professionally and those employed in the wider health and care sectors, as a benchmark for good practice.’

Ms Tranka accompanied her statement with a policy document setting out preceptorship standards and clinical supervision principles for organisations to adopt.

And it said the plans aimed to:

  • Foster and support a compassionate approach within the nursing profession, by enhancing wellbeing and promoting a healthy culture which is practitioner centred
  • Improve retention within the profession, whilst also promoting recruitment
  • Recognise the importance of continuing professional development and career-long learning
  • Enhance safe and effective nursing care, with competent, confident, reflective practitioners

It defined preceptorship as ‘a period to guide and support all newly registered nurses to make the successful transition from student to accountable, independent, knowledgeable, and skilled practitioner’.

And it described restorative clinical supervision as ‘a process of professional support, reflection and learning that contributes to individual development and improved person-centred care’.

Announcing her plans, the CNO for Wales said: ‘The recent years of unprecedented pressure and strain on the NHS workforce have outlined the need for nationally consistent direction around career spanning support for staff to be factored into our long-term workforce policy.

‘From a preceptorship programme for newly registered nurses to a framework of restorative clinical supervision to continue supporting them throughout their careers.’

Commenting on the CNO’s announcement Professor Gemma Stacey, deputy chief executive and director of policy at the Florence Nightingale Foundation, said: ‘We are delighted to see the CNO Wales strongly championing high quality preceptorship for newly qualified nurses and restorative clinical supervision for nurses across their whole career span.

‘Historically, access to and quality of preceptorship and supervision have been inconsistent, often dependent on the dedication of individual champions or subject to fluctuating waves of popularity.

‘By standardising and prioritising these essential support mechanisms, Wales is setting a powerful example for other governments to follow.’

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