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From an Idea to a Network: The GPN Student and Nurse Network

By Sarah O DonnellDecember 3, 2020No Comments

We are three years since the General Practice Nurse Student and Nurse Network (GPNSNN) was created to support the delivery of the GPN 10-point plan with funding from NHS England.

The super shiny team of ambassadors are now going from strength to strength. Networking, reaching out on social media and proactively educating the healthcare profession in the career that is General Practice Nursing.

But where did they start and why?

It originated from an idea born from my own experience as a student nurse, finding my way into general practice nursing whilst up against misinformation, outdated advice, and closed doors. With luck, networking, and sheer determination I found my path and stuck to it and have never looked back, making Lead GPN two years post qualifying.

However, it was hard to be told I was making the wrong decision. That nurses work in hospitals first and primary care is not for newbies. My favourite comment – ‘becoming a GPN would be career suicide’, that was harsh! And also, wrong! Nearly all of the information that I was given and that I found online was outdated and frankly disrespectful to the GPN profession. I felt this needed to change, for the others like me following their dream, to have a job in general practice.

So where do you start? Who have the biggest and most passionate voices? Student Nurses and newly qualified nurses of course!

We needed a network, a group of student nurses with a passion for GP land and they needed to spread across the country and share the knowledge and information to other student nurses, qualified nurses and everybody else within ear shot! The GPNSNN was born!

Amazing student nurses and newly qualified nurses joined together in one voice, talking to students, attending universities, and presenting the career path for becoming a GPN. The only path, in my opinion. So, the start was bright and is only getting brighter. More ideas flooding together, Twitter alight with other student nurses who have been educated in the right information, wanting to know more and excited at the prospect of this fabulous career.

Today the GPNSNN moves forward, engaging with new universities, reaching out on social media through @gpnsnn on Twitter, creating conversations to fill the gap in the knowledge of healthcare professionals. These are the GPN’s of the future and we await them with open arms.

Sarah O’Donnell
GPN Lead
Chair, CNO Shared Decision Making Council