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A third of practice nurses due to retire by 2020

19 January 2016

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More than one-in-three general practice nurses (GPNs) are due to retire by 2020, major new research from the Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) has revealed.

It found that 33% of GPNs are due to retire within the next four years, while nearly half (43%) feel that their nursing team currently needs more appropriately qualified and trained staff to meet the needs of patients.

The report is based on an online survey completed by more than 3,400 general practice nurses during 2015, and summaries the key challenges affecting the profession today.

Dr Crystal Oldman, QNI chief executive commented: “The number of nurses planning to retire should be of major concern and we need to ensure that enough nurses are attracted to the profession.”

It also revealed that the role of the practice nurse is “expanding rapidly” and “many of today’s nurses are now undertaking roles traditionally the reserve of GPs,” Oldman added.

A third of GPNs are independent prescribers (32%), nearly 40% indicated that they undertook visits to patients at home, and one-in-ten hold an NMC recordable specialist practice qualification in general practice nursing.

Despite taking on more responsibility, one-in-five (22%) practice nurses have two jobs, a third reported working evening sessions (after 6pm) and nearly one-in-five work weekends (19%).

Only 35% felt that their salary reflected their role within the practice.

Oldman advised that the survey would be useful to policy makers and workforce planners and “indicate some major challenges and opportunities which need to be addressed.”