The Atlas of Shared Learning

Case study

Facilitating student nurse placements in general practice

Leading change

The practice nurse in Beaumont Lodge Medical Practice in Leicester demonstrated leadership in proactively offering student nurse placements for the first time at the surgery. The opportunity is reportedly having a positive effect on primary care recruitment of newly-qualified practice nurses within Leicester.

Where to look

The practice nurse identified the unwarranted variation in opportunities for student placements in primary care across Leicester, when the local university approached the practice requesting the possibility for student nurse placements within the surgery. The low numbers of primary care student placements locally and limited exposure to primary care within the city was anecdotally thought to be contributing to newly qualified nurses not considering practice nursing as a career option.

What to change

The practice nurse took the lead at Beaumont Lodge practice in establishing a student placement opportunity, identifying with the university the required provisions necessary to support the students and staff within the surgery.

How to change

The Practice Nurse worked closely with the university to identify the educational and support needs of the student and what was required from mentors supporting these students. In collaboration with the practice manager and the rest of the practice’s staff, work was undertaken to ensure the university requirements were achieved in order to prepare them to take students in the practice. The practice nurse then looked at the practices daily schedule, ensuring allocated time for induction, interviews, reflection, and developed a process for informing patients of the surgery that the practice now took nursing students.

Adding value

Better outcomes – student nurses within Leicester have additional opportunities to experience a placement in primary care gaining an understanding of the practice nursing role as part of their pre-registration education.

Better experience – The placements have been a positive learning experience for both the Practice Nurse and the students. Patients have been amenable to having a student present during consultation and have enjoyed talking to them about their learning. Students have given the placement positive feedback and completed evaluation forms with one student looking to work as a practice nurse when they qualify.

Better use of resources – Facilitation of the placements is anecdotally thought to support increased nurse recruitment into primary care roles.

This programme of work is in its early stages. In the initial academic year of the initiative, the practice has supported four student nurse placements. The practice intends to expand the programme, which will provide support to a greater cohort of students.

Challenges and lessons learnt for implementation

The practice nurse has encouraged the development of more student placements by working with other GP practices across Leicester.

By sharing the positive experience they have had at Beaumont Lodge it has encouraged other practices to consider and offer nursing student placements within their practices, by supporting them to overcome any doubts they may have about getting involved.

Work is also underway with the local university to deliver mentor updates across Leicester’s primary care services and work supporting practice nurses to develop business cases to further support student placements locally has also begun.

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