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QNI publishes standards for new practice nurses

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The Queen’s Nursing Institute, commissioned by NHS England, has published new voluntary standards for nurses going into general practice.

The standards for education and practice, published by the QNI on Wednesday, also aim to support educators developing introductory GPN programmes and specialist practitioner qualification programmes.

Practice nurses are directly employed by GPs, meaning there is variation in roles, responsibilities, terms and conditions, role preparation and continuing professional development.

However, QNI chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said the new standards were an ‘important step in ensuring greater consistency of education and practice in this field’.

Currently, GPN education is not mandatory, but it is expected that higher education institutions will adopt the voluntary standards as a best practice guide.

The standards encompass have four key domains of clinical care, leadership and management, facilitation of learning, and evidence, research and development.

They recommend that nurses new to general practice complete an accredited introductory programme within their first year.

New practice nurses should also undertake a minimum one-week period of orientation, a minimum one-month induction, a period of preceptorship and an assessment of clinical competencies.

Dr Oldman continued: ‘I am delighted that we are able to publish these new Voluntary Standards to support nurses new to general practice.

‘General practice nurses are key professionals in delivering vital care to people of all ages in the practice population. They are also being called upon to adapt rapidly to the new conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Experts in general practice nursing including nurses, Higher Education Institution (HEI) programme leads, training hub leads and current GPN students have worked together to develop the new standards. The project was managed by Queen’s Nurse Angie Hack.

Last week, the QNI published guidance for general practice nurses taking on additional community work or roles at short notice during the coronavirus pandemic.

Practice nurses have been taking on extra responsibilities during the coronavirus outbreak, including helping to staff hot hubs, undertaking remote consultations and support community and district nurses in their roles.

Read more: PHE publishes updated guidance on use of PPE