Application, Interview, and Ongoing Development Advice for GPNs
We have developed a 5 step guide for GPN applications, interviews and ongoing development:
Step 1 - Introduction to the role
Ensure you fully understand the role of a General Practice Nurse (GPN). It is normally very evident those who do not understand the job role through the application and interview process.
Research into the role and ensure it is a role you will enjoy and see as a long-term career. It can take a considerable amount of time, training, and support to develop a competent GPN and each Practice will want to ensure time, effort and money is invested in the right candidate.
A list of clinical skills and knowledge is at the end of this document, which is a basis for areas in which GPNs will be expected to undertake and develop within.
Here are some useful links on the role of GPN from NHS England and a link to the GPN fundamentals training offered within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire via De Montfort University (DMU).
Step 2 - Application
Ensure you complete all questions as part of your application. If it has an option to do so, email over an up-to-date CV if you have one. Check for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes before sending.
Look at transferable skills and link back to the job description where you can. If newly qualified look at your development and skills gained over your training period. You can even look at previous employment away from nursing if it is relevant, for example, organisational skills, teamwork, quality improvement, customer service.
Highlight your professional interests and how this can enhance your practice.
Contact the surgery and ask to attend for an informal visit if possible. Most Practices will offer you the opportunity to attend for an informal visit - we recommend you take this offer up. It is a fantastic way of meeting the team before the interview and getting a feel for the Practice. It will offer you the opportunity to ask any questions and understand the support they can offer to the successful candidate.
Step 3 - Interview preparation
Although having a ready-made trained GPN is an advantage, the truth is many Practices are happy to support newly qualified nurses and those new to practice, if they find the right candidate. Many Nurse teams are looking for a team player who they will be happy to work alongside. Remember clinical skills can be taught, finding someone who fits well within the team and has the same values and work ethic as the team and Practice is just as important.
To prepare for the interview, it would be worth looking up local training opportunities available to you (see step 4 for further information). Consider your experience and what transferable skills you have. Ensure you highlight this.
GPN work is very autonomous although you work collaboratively under a large multi-disciplinary team (MDT). Highlighting your ability to both work independently and within a team is important.
Safety is also vital, and some interviewers may ask scenario questions around this. What the Practice wants to ensure is that you are a safe practitioner and are aware of your limitations and scope of practice. Saying you don’t know the answer and seeking advice and support is the right answer in some cases. They do not expect you to know everything. What is important is ensuring you reflect and then develop further in areas where your knowledge and skills need further development. If unsure ASK!
Research the Practice and Primary Care Network (PCN) which they fall within. All PCNs will have key priorities they are tackling and information on their population health needs. Ensure you know about this.
Remember the interview is to sell yourself and give an example to every question where you can. The interview is also a great opportunity to ask questions yourself, for example:
Is there an induction period?
Do they offer a preceptorship?
How will you be supporting with continual professional development?
Also review the pay, terms, and conditions. Many practices DO NOT follow Agenda for Change, and you need to ensure you are happy with what they are offering or even negotiate.
Step 4 - GPN Fellowship
The GPN Fellowship is a national programme which is supported by NHS England, but each region develops and run theirs independently. Within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, the GPN Fellowship encompasses the completion of the GPN Fundamentals course at DMU as part of their first year. The 2nd year encompasses the opportunity to build on clinical skills especially within long term condition management and supports leadership skills and development.
The GPN fundamentals training fees are covered by NHS England and agreed via Nottinghamshire Alliance Training Hub. We may also be able to offer additional funding to the Nurse’s employer to support with protected learning time away from clinics to complete the training and support with backfill.
For further information please contact the Training Hub at: email@example.com
Step 5 - Ongoing development
There are several ways in which you can develop within your role as a General Practice Nurse. It is advisable that the first 2-4 years will be building up your clinical skills and understanding of long-term condition management. After these key skills have developed and you feel competent and confident within your role then there a variety of ways to continue building your career. A variety of areas can be explored and encompassed into your career development in areas such as education, research, and leadership.
Speak to you local Training Hub GPN Lead who can signpost you to information and resources to support further development within these areas.
Clinically there are a couple of professional development opportunities available to you.
You can continue to develop within the General Practice Nurse role, and you may consider undertaking further training and development as a specialist General Practice Nurse via course such as the PGdip Specialist Community Nursing (General Practice nurse) course via universities such as Wolverhampton University.
You can also develop within the General Practice Nurse role by undertaking modules in long term conditions at level 5, 6 and 7, You can even work towards an MSc in Long Term Conditions, Respiratory and Diabetes. Education for Health specialises in modules for primary care and long-term condition management.
You can also choose to enhance your practice by undertaking your non-medical prescribing. There are various Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) offering this across the country, so it is important to research into the various options available to you before deciding on the best course and provider for you.
You may also choose to progress and train as an Advanced Practitioner.
Clinical knowledge and skills list
Immunisations (flu, routine, childhood, b12, travel)
Wound care / treatment of small injuries / removal of sutures and staples
Women’s health (cervical cytology, contraception, etc.)
Cardiovascular disease – primary prevention
Coronary heart disease management
Stroke and TIA reviews
Understanding of extended brief interventions (NICE guidelines)
Mental health reviews
New patient medicals
Contraception starts and reviews
Coil and Implant insertion and removal (specialist training required)
Requesting pathology tests and processing the results, advising patients accordingly
Learning disability reviews
Knowledge of public health issues in the local area
Awareness of issues within the wider health arena
Knowledge of health promotion strategies
Useful national documents
Share this post: