Joining Primary Care with the help of the Nurse Mentorship Programme

14 May 2018

Lynne Cronin, Nurse Lead for Cardiff and the Vale's General Practice Support Team, on the Nurse Mentorship Programme.

I regularly receive emails from nurses working in hospitals or specialist areas, asking about how they can ‘get into practice nursing’.

Many nurses are attracted by the opportunities to develop their nursing skills and knowledge within a primary care team. Working regular hours with greater autonomy and being able to grow and develop in the future are great prospects. These nurses are quite often surprised to find that GPs are independent contractors, and the role comes with terms and conditions that they are not familiar with, but when weighed up against these opportunities, many are very keen to make the transition into General Practice.

Nurses who make this move bring with them a number of skills that are easily transferrable to General Practice, however, there are a number of very specific roles that a General Practice Nurse (GPN) will need, such as cytology and immunisations; the bread-and-butter skills of the GPN.

To this end, the General Practice Support Team (GPST) identified very early on that this transition into Primary Care should be supported by our team. Signposting nurses to training opportunities and supporting them within their practice setting is just what the doctor ordered!

The GPST Nurse Mentorship Programme can allow other nurses to continue their work whilst we are supporting the newly appointment nurses to deliver the National Immunisation Programme, from 8 week old babies right up to flu vaccination in all clinical risk areas. Having the practical support has meant a lot to the nurses we have worked with and has given them confidence in this new skill. Practice managers have been very happy with this support as a confident nurse leads to improved services and smooth running clinics.

We have also supported many GPNs to deliver the cytology programme. We have been able to give practical mentored support during cytology clinics within the surgery - this is useful where there are no other nurses within the practice and allows GPs to continue with their clinical work.

If you are interested in joining us in primary care or would like to discuss the Nurse Mentorship Programme, please contact

"I completed the online training and had an in-house assessment with the immunisation co-ordinator as I had missed the yearly 2-day immunisation training. I was lucky enough to be provided with an in-house mentorship programme from the General Practice Support Team (GPST). This consisted of an experienced practice nurse sitting in with me on a weekly basis in the baby clinic, providing me with practical and theoretical skills. I felt this was beneficial to myself and was much more suited to my style of learning. It helped me build my confidence by being able to visually watch someone run a baby clinic, and enabled me to capably be able to independently administer the immunisations after a few weeks but still have someone there with me to be able to ask questions and provide guidance."  - Practice Nurse Joanne Pearce, Albany Surgery, Roath, Cardiff