Practice or clinic nurses are an integral part of ensuring that everything goes smoothly in GP clinics and surgeries. They have a broad role in that they deliver care to patients throughout a general practice. Practice nurses are likely to work alongside a variety of different healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, nutritionists, doctors and other visiting health professionals. In larger clinics or GP surgeries, it’s likely that a whole team of practice nurses will be employed, but typically there will only be one in the smaller establishments.
In the smaller practices, nurses will have a broader range of responsibilities and roles and this is important to keep in mind when you are employing someone for your practice.
How much a practice nurse will need to do at their place of work is directly impacted by the size of the establishment and how many other practice nurses they will be working alongside. However, the role of practice nurses during their daily work generally includes:
- Physical exams, such as tests, smears and other procedures
- Diagnosing illnesses alongside healthcare practitioner
- Providing advice and information about medication such as contraception
- Applying and removing dressings and treating wounds
- Advice, education and information about health conditions and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and obesity
- Giving injections, vaccinations and infant inoculations
- Running out of house clinics that may include information sessions about ailments such as asthma or diabetes, breast and testicular cancer, etc.
- Keeping comprehensive patient records and keeping their notes up to date
Attributes to look for when hiring a clinic nurse
Clinic nurses are an integral part of any smaller practice, and as such, it’s important that you find the right fit for your needs. There are a number of necessary aspects that a nursing candidate should have to ensure that they will thrive in their role at your company.
The main attributes to keep an eye out for when hiring a practice nurse include (but aren’t limited to):
First things first, you must ensure that the candidate you pick has the right qualifications to be successful at the job. While it isn’t necessary for practice nurses to have the same level of qualifications as a registered nurse, they must have some sort of nurse training and qualifications such as a Bachelor of Nursing is a comprehensive and thorough degree that will ensure any nurse within your practice is well qualified to do their job.
In addition to a diploma or a degree, look for nurses that have gone further to do shorter courses and qualifications to refine their skills in specific categories, such as delivering immunisations, how to develop disease management plans for the elderly, or nursing for children. Keep in mind that nurses who have done some sort of training or apprenticeship will also be ready to walk in and start working with little need for your own training.
Health and fitness
Clinic nurses work hard, and they are on their feet most of the day, juggling a variety of patients and even lifting them at times. Ensure that the candidate that you choose is in good health and fitness so that they can keep up with the physical demands of the job.
No day is the same for a practice nurse and that makes it quite an attractive role. However, this also means that you have to hire someone who is okay with changing schedules, roles and taking each day as it comes. Adaptability and being flexible are important attributes to consider,
Practice nurses need to be able to keep on top of patient records, doctors’ requests, management plans and much more. Thus, it is essential that they have excellent organisational and administrative skills.
Practice nurses deal with a lot of different people throughout their day from doctors and dieticians to patients and their families. People skills are essential for nurses to connect with people and to get their information across in a calm, confident and friendly manner.
These are just some of the things to keep in mind when looking to hire a practice or clinic nurse for your company.
Dr Schultz spent 22 years working in psychiatry and then went on to qualify as a lawyer. He has spent 34 years helping people solve problems and the unique combination of medicine, psychiatry, law and mediation provides a unique academic and practical approach to life's challenges.