Skip to main content
Early Career

What is a General Practice Nurse (GPN)?

A General Practice Nurse is a registered nurse who works autonomously within a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) within General Practice (GP) surgeries as part of a Primary Healthcare Team and is usually employed by the General Practitioners.

They assess, screen and treat people of all ages, including babies, children  and adults in addition to providing traditional aspects of nursing care such as wound care, immunisations, vaccinations, Cervical cytology sampling and hold clinics for patients with Long Term Conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

A key role of the General Practice Nurse (GPN) is to offer health promotion advice in areas such as contraception, weight loss and smoking cessation in addition to emphasis on promoting Women’s and Men’s health.

The primary healthcare team typically includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and dietitians. A practice nurse will be involved in almost every aspect of patient care and treatment, undertaking such tasks as:

  • Treating small injuries
  • Helping with minor operations done under local anaesthetic
  • Helping people manage long term conditions
  • Health screening
  • Family planning
  • Running vaccination programmes (e.g. against flu)
  • Running programmes to help people to stop smoking.

Nurses working in General Practice are undertaking an ever wider range of roles, with experienced nurses assuming more of the traditional workload of GPs. For nurses working in primary care, this should be seen as a positive development: for those seeking a challenging and rewarding nursing career, General Practice can offer this.

The role allows nurses to develop long term relationships with individuals and families, managing their conditions and improving physical and mental health and wellbeing. However this is only possible when sufficient time can be invested to support patients to develop effective self-management and preventative measures.