General practice nurses

How to Support The Growth of General Practice Nurses


General practice nurses

One of the great problems that currently plagues general practices is the workforce crisis for all nurses across all grades. This is even more so for general practice nurses. The lack of nurses across all grades is more noticeable than ever, especially in GP surgeries and something needs to be done.

One of the most realistic remedies that has been suggested, is to ensure that student nurses have placements in GP surgeries while undergoing their undergraduate training. This could be a crucial step in the declining rate of working nurses.

General practice nurses are retiring twice as fast as GP’s and it is showing in the medical industry as there are half as many GPN’s as GP’s working in general practices.


What is the problem?

The major issue with this proposal of encouraging nurses having general practice placements while they are training is that practices do not want inexperienced nurses. They want to employ general practice nurses that have significant experience of general practice, they want them to fill the void of the long standing general nurses they had before them. The practice wants a direct replacement that can handle the increasing clinical demands and strains it is under instead of a novice.

The issue is that to gain that experience is not easy, it takes years of training and ongoing training to develop this level of competence in such a demanding role. This is why it is very difficult to replace the quality of nurses that are retiring.

GP habits die hard and if you look at adverts for GPN posts the vast majority still require previous GPN experience. Now increasing numbers of practices are fishing in the same pool, which often means they are trying to poach experienced GPNs from surrounding practices. This recycling only serves to destabilise other practices and produces losers for every winner.


Why grow your own

There are many reasons for general practices to grow their own nurses. Most of all they could mould them into the GPN’s they want and need for the way they run their practice and treat patients. Another promising statistic from when this strategy was previously trialed in the northeast was that 30% to 90% of the nurses who took their placements at general practices said they would consider GP nursing as a career and as their first destination after fully graduating.
The original trial consisted of 512 student nurses who spent anywhere between 6 and 16 weeks in a general practice placement. This could be the answer for a new and desperately needed pipeline of nurses for the future.

Investing in newly-qualified nurses in general practice must become the norm if we are to maintain the high quality, invaluable GPN services for the benefits of our patients.


How to survive for now

In the meantime the best way to cover the gap in general practices with experienced nurses is locum nurses, AppLocum current provides all grade of nurses from practice nurses to advanced nurse practitioners.

If you are a practice that has vacancies in their rota or you are a nurse who wants to gain valuable experience by working in various surgeries then please give AppLocum a call.


You can email us on or call 0161 711 0655

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