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General Practice Nurse

Did you know nursing is the UK’s most employable type of degree, with 94% of students getting a job within six months of finishing their course?

If you're eligible you can also receive at least £5,000 in financial support every year of your degree. 

General Practice Nurses (GPNs) play a vital role in providing, leading, and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based, and person-centred.

They are accountable for their own actions and must be able to work autonomously, or as an equal partner with a range of other professionals, and in interdisciplinary teams. In order to respond to the impact and demands of professional nursing practice, they must be emotionally intelligent and resilient individuals, who are able to manage their own personal health and wellbeing and know when and how to access support.

The profile of General Practice Nursing is being raised in response to the drive for improvement in the delivery of primary care. An increasing shift of care from hospitals to general practice provides nurses with an exciting career choice.

Entry criteria

You must be a qualified and registered adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse to work in general practice. You will also either need to undertake further training and education or be willing to after being appointed. 

The routes into becoming a Registered Nurse include:

  • Studying nursing as a full-time degree at university

  • Completing a registered nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA) which offers a flexible route to becoming a nurse that does not require full-time study at university. You will need to secure a position as an RNDA and your employer will release you to study at university part time

  • You can also choose to complete a Nursing Associate apprenticeship and then ‘top up’ your training to become a Registered Nurse

Getting into General Practice

General Practice Nursing is a rapidly expanding speciality, reflecting the shift in health care delivery from secondary to primary care. It can, nonetheless, be a challenging environment for nurses new to practice and those employed in secondary care transferring to GP, because of a unique knowledge and skill set required.

It is recognised that each area of practice will have its own training and education needs and preferences. However, in order to support the delivery of a pan London approach to training, there are two categories of training programmes for those new to general practice nursing: Foundation programmes and Academic programmes. The Foundation and Academic programmes offer a choice between short, skills-based training and a longer, academically focussed programme.

Foundation and Academic programme

Foundation programmes are available from seven Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) serving London. The programmes vary from HEI to HEI (Level 6/7, 20-60 credits) and last between 3 and 8 months. Foundation programmes broadly offer ‘start up’ skills-based training for newly qualified nurses (NQNs) and/or nurses new to employment in General Practice.

Academic programmes (Level 6/7, 120 credits) are available from four HEIs in London and offer an academic qualification in General Practice nursing. The programmes can be undertaken either part-time over 2 years or full-time in 1 year. The latter offers a ‘fast track’ progression in General Practice Nursing suited to NQNs looking to establish a career in General Practice.

Read more about the Foundation and Academic programme.

CNO002 Discovering a Nursing Career in General Practice

Nurses looking to start a role in general practice can now undertake a three-month module to gain a better understanding of the role and assist with applications to general practice nursing.

Designed to improve understanding and awareness of general practice, the CNO002 'Discovering a Nursing Career in General Practice' module is part of a series of training modules endorsed by Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Ruth May. It is a national module, providing consistency in learning across the country which is recognised by GPs.

Find out more here.

Fellowships and preceptorship

Fellowship Scheme

The General Practice Nursing Fellowship Scheme is a National Programme, supported locally by the North Central London Training Hub. This programme is a national commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan with a number of benefits to support GP nurses at the start of their career. The programme encourages working within and across Primary Care Networks leading to opportunities for integrated working and varied portfolio work experience. 

Available to all GP nurses who have graduated within the last 12 months (exceptional circumstances such as sick leave or maternity leave may affect this). To become a fellow you must be looking for or currently be in a substantive role; it is expected that individuals will have a minimum of a 2-year contract which includes their Fellowship sessions which will need to be reviewed and amended at the end of the programme.

The programme offers support with PCN portfolio working and learning and development post-registration, supporting nurses to take up substantive roles, understand the context they are working in and become embedded in the PCN, as well as increase and maintain high levels of participation in the primary care workforce.

Participants could receive funded mentorship and funded CPD opportunities of one session per week (pro rata), and rotational placements within or across PCNs to develop experience and support transition into the workforce.

Find out more about the NCL Fellowships programme here.

Contact Charlotte Cooley, the NCL Training Hub GPN Fellowship Lead, to find out more about the support available through the NCL Training Hub.

You can also read more about the General Practice Fellowship programme on the NHS England website.

Preceptorship programme

In North Central London, we have a unique Preceptorship programme offer that supports nurses new to general practice which supports Nursing Associates & GPNs New to General Practice to develop their clinical skills, build confidence and offer appropriate support and mentoring. Preceptorship invests in teaching new nurses to relate to patients and conduct effective, meaningful and productive consultations.

Find out more about the preceptorship programme.

You can also consult these resources:

  • RCN guidance on Good Employment Practice for nurses employed by GPs

  • RCGP guidance on General Practice Nursing and GPN Nursing standards is available on the Nursing page of the RCGP website including Nurse Competency Frameworks for GPNs and nurses working at the advanced clinical practice level within general practice

  • Transition to General Practice Nursing  is a free online learning resource from the QNI to support nurses who are new to General Practice based on the knowledge and expertise of nurses and educators working in the profession

  • Induction Template for General Practice Nursing published by NHS England and QNI aims to assist with good practice in induction and orientation for nurses moving into General Practice, by developing a bespoke checklist with common ‘national’ elements, adapted to suit local areas.

Working life

General Practice Nurses work in GP surgeries as part of the primary healthcare team alongside doctors, pharmacists, and dietitians.

In larger practices, you might be one of several practice nurses sharing duties and responsibilities. In smaller surgeries, you might be working on your own, taking on many various roles. 

"I love what I do and working with the wide range of people who walk through my door every day!"

Competencies and standards

As a General Practice Nurse you would be responsible for providing personalised care to patients. This might include:

  • Obtaining blood samples

  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs) 

  • Minor and complex wound management including leg ulcers

  • Travel health advice and vaccinations

  • Child immunisations and advice

  • Family planning & women’s health including cervical smears

  • Men’s health screening

  • Sexual health services

  • Smoking cessation

  • Screening and helping patients to manage long term conditions

General practice nurses may also have direct supervision of Health Care Assistants and Nursing Associates at their practice.

The NMC Code presents the professional standards that nurses, midwives and nursing associates must uphold in order to be registered to practise in the UK. It is structured around four themes – prioritise people, practise effectively, preserve safety and promote professionalism and trust.

Caring with Confidence is a series of bite-sized animations about key aspects of your role as a nursing or midwifery professional, and how the Code can support you. Please share the series with your colleagues. 

Standards of proficiency for registered nurses – the revised document was published by the NMC in 2018 and represent the skills, knowledge, and attributes all nurses must demonstrate.


As stated by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), every registered nurse and midwife “must have undertaken 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to their scope of practice in the three-year period since their registration was last renewed, or since they joined the register. Of those 35 hours of CPD, at least 20 must have included participatory learning”.

You must also maintain accurate and up-to-date records of CPD you have undertaken.

Visit the NMC website for more information on:

View our CPD offer for nursing professionals

Revalidation resources:

CPD and training

With further training and experience, practice nurses can apply for more senior roles, such as senior practice nurse/nurse practitioner and advanced nurse practitioner positions. These roles mean a lot more autonomy and you will be able to manage your own caseloads. You could also move into education, management, teaching or clinical research.

As per the ministerial commitment, every NHS nurse, nursing associate, midwife, and Allied Health Professional (AHP) has access to £1,000 over a three-year period (2020/21-2022/23) to support their personal and professional development requirements. In practice, this means:

  • the per person funding should be distributed across the three years, not exceeding £333 per person per year

  • the money cannot be used to fund backfill

  • the CPD funding cannot be spent on mandatory training

  • the annual CPD budget is distributed by NHSE and handed over to local Training Hubs for delivery; in NCL the coordination is done centrally by the NCL Training Hub.

View the CPD offer for nursing professionals.


Three coaching offers are available from NHS England and NHS Improvement to all primary care colleagues, tailored to individual needs. Experienced coaches can help you as an individual, support you to manage your team and reflect on your career goals and ambitions.

Find out more about the coaching offers.

Nurse forums

Each borough holds regular forums for nurses. For timings and programmes please contact the lead nurse in your borough:

The NCL Nursing forum meets on a monthly basis. To register, please contact Barbara Bryden.

Online resources

Online learning resources

Reports and publications

Career development opportunities

Find out about roles available to GPNs interested in career development opportunities

Advanced Practitioner

Advanced Nursing Practitioners (ANP) are nurses who have undertaken a master’s level in clinical practice.

ANPs have authority in patient diagnosis and are trusted to independently assess, diagnose, manage, and care for patients with complex clinical issues. 

ANPs have an important role to play in supporting and enhancing primary care service provision. They have been shown to improve patients’ satisfaction, alleviate pressure on GPs, and provide high quality care where it is needed. 

Find out more about the role.

Find out how to train as an Advanced Practitioner in North Central London.

Nurse Educator

A GPN career offers a varied and exciting working environment with a range of leadership and development opportunities.

In addition to providing patient care, a General Practice Nurse can use their nursing skills and experience to teach and advocate for nurses.

A Nurse Educator supports new members of staff, newly joined nurses, Trainee Nursing Associates, Nursing Associates, students on placements - delivering teaching, offering guidance, support, mentoring and practice learning, as well as supporting activities related to practice supervision and assessment.

Becoming a Nurse Educator

To become a Primary Care Nurse Educator you need to be a Registered Nurse, preferably with post registration experience in General Practice, as well as experience as a clinical educator/supervisor.

The role

Nurse educators working in primary care focus on facilitating high standards of clinical practice in Primary Care and play a critical role in creating a positive work environment for nursing teams, improving retention rates. They provide educational support to Practice Nurses and other members of the nursing teams and develop clinical education programmes, acting as an expert resource and role model for colleagues.

Some of the objectives of Nurse Educators include:

  • Clinical teaching and assessing for nursing trainees/apprentices to successfully complete their programme. Providing clinical supervision, coaching and mentoring for learners.

  • Supporting the work of the General Practices and Training Hub in identifying training and development needs for clinical primary care staff.

  • Designing and developing inductions and training packages.

  • Building awareness and promotion of various nursing roles and the benefits the role(s) can play in PCNs.

  • Supporting pre-registered nurses during their placements in General Practice.

  • Supporting registered nurses new to the specialism with their development and smooth transition into General Practice.

  • Training International Nurses to attain their OSCE and preparing them for work in the NHS.

The World Health Organization (WHO) outlines eight core competencies for nurse educators which are, in summary:

  1. Theories and principles of adult learning

  2. Curriculum design and implementation

  3. Nursing practice

  4. Research and evidence

  5. Communication, collaboration, and partnership

  6. Ethical/ legal principles and professionalism

  7. Monitoring and evaluation

  8. Management, leadership and advocacy


The best place to start your educator journey is by becoming a supervisor/assessor for trainees and completing a SSSA training.

The NCL Training Hub organises regular SSSA training delivered by the Hertfordshire University. Find out more about the SSSA from NMC.

To become a certified educator, you will need to complete one of the postgraduate level 2 courses at a chosen Higher Education Institution.

You will also be able to attend Educator Forums in the borough you work in, organised by the NCL Education Faculty.

A number of HEIs in the UK offer PG Dip/PG Cert in clinical education which can occasionally attract funding from HEE e.g.,

To start, you can also consult these online resources:

Get in touch

Contact Nyamka Marsh, the Lead Educator at the NCL Training Hub, to find out more about training to become a Nurse Educator as well as up-to-date job opportunities.

PCN Nurse Lead / Borough Nurse Lead

GPNs, interested in taking on leadership opportunities receive support from the NCL Training Hub to access professional development training including CARE, Mary Seacole and ICB-led system leadership courses.

As a nurse lead, you can work at PCN level or at borough level, focusing on activities such as:

  • Leading on the delivery of projects that align with network contracts and service delivery models in the PCN/borough

  • Ensuring nursing workforce is consulted on and involved in PCN/borough level strategies

  • Supporting nurse development and training initiatives

  • Building placement and education capacity, scoping opportunities for nurse placements and supporting the delivery of training to new nurses and nursing associates in primary care

To find out more about these opportunities, please contact Maria Powazka, NCL TH Programme Manager - Nursing.

Becoming a Practice Partner

NHS England and NHS Improvement are pleased to have this opportunity to support our general practice colleagues through the introduction of the New to Partnership Payment Scheme. This scheme seeks to support our general practice health care professionals to become partners within a practice through supplying a training allowance to grow necessary partnership skills, coupled with a financial payment. In return, participants commit to holding an equity-shares partnership for five years, and to delivering a minimum of two clinical sessions per week in their general practice setting throughout.

Ultimately this initiative should support the achievement of increasing clinical participation levels. The scheme invites applications from a wide range of health care professionals who are delivering patient care in general practice and who fulfil the criteria to be partners. Applications are also welcomed from those who work less than full time, are returners or international recruits, where those individuals meet the eligibility criteria, including that they have not been a partner before in England.

Please see below for further details.

Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA)

General practice nursing is an exciting and rewarding job, yet the increased workload related to the increasing patient needs and an ageing population, have contributed to nurses becoming more at risk of burnout and stress.

Professional Nurse Advocates (PNAs) are qualified, practising nurses, trained in applying the A-EQUIP model (Advocating for Education and Quality Improvement) to lead and support nurses in practice by delivering training and facilitating restorative clinical supervision.

Find out more about the NCL PNA network.

The Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) Training Programme

The Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) Training Programme is a virtual accredited Level 7 master’s clinical professional development training programme that will run for 10 days but can vary over weeks or months.

The criterion for the PNA training programme requires that you:

  • are a registered nurse

  • are in a patient facing role

  • are Band 5 or above

  • already hold an accredited Level 6 qualification (degree or degree equivalent/ top-up accredited Level 6 CPD course)

  • have practice manager/ lead nurse approval to be released

The training programme will equip registered nurses with the skills and knowledge to support the mental health and wellbeing of fellow colleagues and improvement of patient care.

The training will focus on the four functions of the Advocating for Education and Quality and Improvement (A-Equip) Model. The four functions of the A-Equip Model are as follows:

  • Clinical Supervision (Restorative)

  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Control (Normative)

  • Personal Action for Quality Improvement

  • Education and Development (Formative)

The delivery and mode of academic assessment will vary dependent on the Higher Education Institute (HEI). Some academic assessments may include short essays, poster presentations and competency portfolios.

It is expected that as soon as you complete the PNA Training Programme, you will start to support your fellow colleagues, facilitate restorative clinical supervision in practise, and lead and deliver quality improvement initiatives in response to the service demands and the ongoing changing patient requirements.


Contact Maria Powazka to enquire about the opportunity of training and working as a PNA in North Central London.

Cervical Screening External Assessors

Find out more about sample taker training and becoming an external assessor

Cervical sample taking - takers and assessors (