As a practice nurse you assist in all levels of patient care, usually within the surgery of a general practitioner (GP). You will make diagnoses and often prescribe treatment.
Communication is a large part of practice nurse work, because your role also involves educating patients about prevention rather than cure and how to take prescribed treatments.
To become a general practice nurse, you must be a qualified and registered adult nurse, children’s nurse, mental health nurse or learning disability nurse. Further training and education are also necessary after being appointed.
By studying here at City, University of London you will gain modern knowledge about evidence-based practice and research for leading public health initiatives.
Our experts equip you with the skills to address care at individual, community and population level.
What can I expect from a career as a practice nurse?
You are likely to work in GP surgeries as part of the primary healthcare team. This team can include doctors, pharmacists and dietitians.
If you work within a larger practice, you could be one of several practice nurses sharing duties and responsibilities.
Physical examinations and patient consultations will be required of you, as well as leading teams within a practice. You will help to ease workload at extremely busy times.
The duties of a practice nurse are likely to include:
- Obtaining blood samples
- Taking electrocardiograms to check heart activity
- Managing minor and complex wounds
- Giving travel health advice and vaccinations
- Advising on child immunisations
- Advising on family planning and women’s health, including cervical smears
- Advising on sexual health services
- Supporting patients in managing long-term conditions.
You may also have direct supervision of healthcare assistants at the practice.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a practice nurse, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career as a practice nurse, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as a practice nurse?
Most practice nurses in the UK work for the National Health Service (NHS) within GP surgeries. You may also work in health centres and clinics. A smaller number may work in private practices.
Job opportunities for practice nurses are expected to rise with more nursing care moving out of hospitals and into the community.
What about work experience as a practice nurse?
Some relevant experience will always be useful, in addition to your work as an adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse. Paid or unpaid experience in care work or work with people in the community will be useful.
You might also consider visiting hospitals and talking to nurses about the role. This will give you an insight, important contacts and reflect well on your commitment to the profession.
Volunteering, part-time jobs and student projects can all develop skills that are highly valued by employers.
What are my prospects as a practice nurse?
Your prospects as a qualified practice nurse are good, especially with the expected move of care into the community. A level of geographical flexibility may help you in being able to apply for relevant positions wherever they are advertised.
Most nursing positions have management responsibilities, but some paths will be more management-orientated than others. As your experience builds you may gain more seniority and have less hands-on nursing responsibility.
You may pursue a clinical specialism aligned with your practice nurse duties such as minor illness, or you may pivot back to specialisms within your original background in adult, child, mental health or learning disability fields.
Alternative career options could include a move towards clinical governance roles, research or education in helping to train a new generation of health professionals.