This winter, GPs and Practices are working hard to find and visit members of the community who can’t come into Practice with the design of new home visiting services. They’re making sure the some of the most vulnerable people receive the same primary care nursing services as everyone else and are not disadvantaged due to being housebound.
Because every community is different, Primary Integrated Community Services is working with 11 small groups of Practices to design bespoke services tailored to local patient need. The small groups of practices are called Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and they can use funding from the NHS in different ways to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of their neighbourhoods.
The roles and skills of each team are different, but every team member shares a commitment to make every contact count. PICS provides training to ensure staff ask what matters to the patients and their carers and are able to offer further support, referrals or signposting to other services. PICS also provides induction, training, clinical supervision, mentoring, and operational support depending on the requirements of the PCN.
One of the new roles being recruited to is that of a Nursing Associate, or Trainee Nursing Associate. Often a stepping-stone toward becoming a Registered Nurse, the job is rewarding in itself, as Lisa Scott, Nurse Associate for Newark Primary Care Network explains below.
Lisa Scott is a Nurse Associate employed by Primary Integrated Community Services on behalf of Newark Primary Care Network.
What do you do as a Nursing Associate?
I carry out phlebotomy, ECG, ear irrigation, observations, foot checks, cytology and I collect data for patient’s annual reviews if they have long term conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma, COPD, or Dementia.
My time is split equally between the GP practices in the Primary Care Network and the Care Homes that are linked to those practices. I mainly work in the community but do on occasion have a clinic in the surgery.
What difference does your role make for patients?
Our housebound and care home patients are now able to access services in the comfort of their own home or the care home. These are services which may have been difficult for patients to access if they were unable to get into the surgery, so we’re making NHS services more accessible for the most vulnerable patients. I also provide extra support for our Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Dieticians and GP practice staff by providing urgent services as and when needed, such as phlebotomy.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a Trainee Nursing Associate or Nursing Associate?
I would say ‘go for it’! The University course is very good, and I found that gaining the underpinning knowledge was beneficial. It made me look at the patient holistically and improved the quality of care I was giving.
I found the placements were brilliant. I had placements in Emergency Departments, a Prison, and the community, which gave me a full insight into all the different areas of care.
The course takes hard work and determination to complete, but you get as much support as you need, and you make friends that will be with you for life.