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Practice Nurse Jobs: Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Practice Nurse?
A Practice Nurse or General Practice Nurse works in a GP surgery as part of a primary healthcare team, alongside doctors, pharmacists and dieticians, among others.
Practice Nurses in larger GP surgeries may work with many other Practice Nurses, while at smaller ones they tend to work more independently.
As healthcare in the UK continues to move into the community, opportunities for Practice Nurses are rapidly growing in number.
What Are The Daily Responsibilities Of A Practice Nurse?
Practice Nurses are real multi-taskers, working with all kinds of patients in a wide variety of circumstances.
Typically, daily duties include:
• Patient consultations
• Carrying out physical examinations and tests
• Diagnosing and treating illnesses
• Performing cervical smear tests and pregnancy tests
• Providing advice about contraception
• Treating wounds and applying dressings
• Taking patient samples and swabs
• Checking vital signs and blood pressures
• Performing blood tests
• Liaising with GPs over diagnoses and treatment plans
Your working hours are likely to be structured around GP opening hours, so Monday to Friday, between 9am and 6pm.
But with many surgeries extending and flexing their opening hours, this can vary.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Practice Nurse?
To become a Practice Nurse you firstly need to be registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).
And for that, you need to complete a nursing degree in any of these four core areas: adult, child, mental health and learning disabilities.
Courses typically last three years and are available at universities and educational institutions across the UK.
You normally need to undertake further training and education in order to apply for Practice Nurse jobs.
However, such is the demand for Practice Nurses that newly qualified Nurses will be considered if they’re willing to take on further study after being appointed.
Find Out How To Become A GP / Practice Nurse
We have two articles you might be interested in if you're thinking of becoming a Practice Nurse. Both of them are written by Nurses who have worked in General Practice.
1.Nurse Practitioner, Jo Baines: Jo describes her journey into Practice Nursing jobs and illustrates the requirements of today’s GPs.
2. General Practice Nurse, Katie James-Lawrie: Katie has worked in theatres for the NHS and here explains how she switched to become a GP nurse. She covers the key skills, what she does day-to-day, the rewards, challenges and pay.
How Much Do Practice Nurses Get Paid?
Because Practice Nurses are employed by independent practitioners rather than the NHS, pinpointing what you’re likely to earn is very difficult.
It’s widely suggested that Practice Nurses start at the equivalent of a Band 6 NHS salary, which is just over £30,000 a year.
But automatic and incremental annual pay rises aren’t guaranteed from independent practices, so salaries can remain stagnant.
However, pay varies dramatically from one surgery to the next.
Experienced Practice Nurses often earn more than £40,000 a year – while highly specialised experts can earn beyond £50,000.
Effectively, Practice Nurses work within the private sector, and that brings a range of pros and cons.
Your salary may not increase for years, but then you may be given a large increase at once.
Your holiday entitlement could be significantly worse than in the NHS, but you might have far more flexibility.
The private sector is full of opportunity, but full of drawbacks too.
So, when considering a career in practice nursing, consider how much you’d benefit from working inside or outside the NHS.
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