Advanced Nurse Practitioner talks Career Development and Becoming a Practice Partner

08 February 2019

Heather Hyatt talks about her experiences of becoming a partner at Highlight Park Medical Practice in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan. 

The landscape of healthcare provision is constantly evolving, with allied health professionals contributing to the enhancement of services becoming the norm, alongside their medical counterparts.  The professional boundaries of nursing are widening, with nurses involved at a senior healthcare level, more so than ever before. Whilst this has been more commonplace in secondary care, primary care is catching up. The role of a nurse partner is becoming more commonplace, though still a relatively new concept especially within Wales.

The role of Advanced Nurse Practitioner is frequently aligned and compared to those of junior doctors, despite the vast differences; nurses with advanced skills often find it difficult to assimilate their skills either into a nursing or medical role, hence resulting in new and extended roles being created to allow for this. However, for me, working at an advanced level encompasses more than just clinical skills. Instead, pushing the boundaries of the nursing profession and helping to shape and determine how we provide healthcare to our patients. This is where the role of a nurse partner is unique; it requires the professional experience in order to contribute to service provision, the direction of care and empowering a team to achieve a common goal in improving patient care, whilst working at an advanced clinical level on a day to day basis.  As nurses, I feel we are able to see clinical care provision from a different viewpoint to our medical colleagues; we are taught to approach patient care in a different way as well as the differences in how nursing teams are structured in relation to colleagues from other professions. Putting this into the context of a GP practice has many benefits - from staff management to service development, patient advocacy to clinical assessment, research to audit. Each nurse has different clinical experience, which would only serve to enhance what he or she could offer, or provide expertise in, within a practice.

When it comes to fitting into a partnership, being a nurse it is not a natural progression, entering into a traditionally medically dominated and business related world. However, I’ve come to realise it is the epitome of professional respect. The respect I have from my colleagues in my ability to contribute to practice development is extraordinary; as well the confidence in my approach and experience in developing and driving excellent patient care. Although the business aspect of a partnership may be off-putting for some, nurses with experience of team or ward management would thrive and enhance those skills even further. Whilst daunting to begin with, it is liberating to influence a business where your passions lie and to see patients reaping the benefits from that.

So, to all those nurses out there, push those boundaries and aim to achieve the things we haven’t thought possible or within our nursing remit. As nurses, we have fundamentally unique and specialised skills to bring to the table to enhance practices and develop in different directions to maximise patient benefit. I would hope more nurses will become partners in the future, establishing ourselves professionally in this fast developing role.

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