General practice nurse
Nurses are an important part of delivering care in general practice. An increasing shift of care from hospitals to general practice provides nurses with a really exciting career choice.
This page has information on being a general practice nurse and links to further information.
General practice nurses work in GP surgeries as part of the primary healthcare team, which might include doctors, pharmacists and dietitians. In larger practices, you might be one of several practice nurses sharing duties and responsibilities. In others, you might be working on your own, taking on many roles.
You could be involved in most aspects of patient care including
- obtaining blood samples
- electrocardiograms (ECGs)
- minor and complex wound management including leg ulcers
- travel health advice and vaccinations
- child immunisations and advice
- family planning & women’s health including cervical smears
- men’s health screening
- sexual health services
- smoking cessation
General practice nurses may also have direct supervision of healthcare assistants at the practice.
You must be a qualified and registered adult, child, mental health or learning disability nurse to work in general practice. You’ll also either need to undertake further training and education or be willing to after being appointed. Find out more about studying to be a nurse.
Some employers may ask for knowledge or experience in specific areas eg health promotion or working with patients with long-term conditions. We recommend that registered nurses check with local employers and training providers to see what is on offer.
You could take the first step of your general practice nurse career without going to university straightaway. You could enter as a healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner, if you have relevant experience and qualifications, and further develop your skills through additional education and training before starting your degree.
Health Education England's Education and Career Framework for general practice and district nursing offers more detailed information on the core skills and education needed for a career in general practice nursing.
Want to learn more?
- Find out about the personal characteristics and skills needed for general practice nursing
- Find out about the training and development opportunities in general practice nursing
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers.
Practice nurses employed directly by the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Terms and conditions can vary for employers delivering services on behalf of the NHS, including most GP surgeries.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
With further training and experience, practice nurses can apply for more senior roles, such as senior practice nurse/nurse practitioner and advanced nurse practitioner positions. These roles mean a lot more autonomy and you will be able to manage your own caseloads. You could also move into education, management, teaching or clinical research.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
There are nearly 24,000 nurses working in general practice. The number of job and training opportunities will continue to grow as more nursing care moves out of hospitals and into the community. For example, the number of practice nursing training places increased by 65% to over 350 in 2015.
If you are currently a qualified and registered nurse, you can apply for general practice nursing roles on NHS Jobs. Some advertise on their own websites and in the nursing press. You can find a list of GP surgeries at NHS Choices.
- Further information Expand / Collapse