Are you interested in training the practice nurses of the future?

Would you like the opportunity to showcase General Practice as a great place to work? If so, we need you!

General practice faces a workforce crisis; triggered by problems with recruiting and retaining GPs and General Practice Nurses (GPNs) in the face of rising demand for health services. At the same time we have a rising proportion of GPs and GPNs moving closer to retirement. A 2015 QNI report states 33% of GPNs may retire by 2020.

The services that primary care delivers are changing to meet the rising demand on services for the ageing population with complex health needs.

One way to address the shortage of GPNs is to offer placements to pre-reg nursing students. Experience has shown that students are most likely to select their first job and future employment only in areas they have experienced during training. Without positive exposure to general practice it is extremely unlikely that we will generate sufficient future talent to join the workforce in the coming years.  

Benefits for the placement provider:

  • Engaging future workforce
  • Maintaining practice staff’s live mentorship qualification
  • Supports CPD hours for revalidation for nurses
  • Supports the NMC Code
  • Provides the whole practice team with the opportunity to support learners 
  • Promoting General Practice as a career option
  • Tariff paid to practice

Key information:

  • Indemnity DBC cover in place for all students.
  • Students can be split across 2 practices if Nurses work part time or if a Nurse is on AL or off sick for long periods so long as the student spends at least 40% of their time with their mentor.

1)      What exactly does nurse mentorship entail?

Pre-registration nurses require a qualified mentor to support them whilst they are out in practice placements. This nurse mentor acts not only as a support but also as a teacher, a guide and an assessor. They should be a role model to the student and be able to provide learning opportunities for them, explaining how they theory they are learning in university relates to practice and the real healthcare world. The mentor will be required to complete the student's PAD (Practice Assessment Document) which entails three interviews (initial, mid-placement and final), assessment of Professional Values in Practice as well as grading. The students' grading is a vital component of their learning as it forms 50% of the overall degree classification. The PAD also contains a number of Skills Clusters which need completing throughout the students' placements for each year.

2)      Who can mentor nurses?

Any nurse who has been on the NMC register for at least one year and who has undertaken an approved mentorship preparation programme. Anyone who has previously done mentorship training, but is no longer on any live register can refresh their skills and get back on the register by attending a refresher training session that is being organised locally. This course enables nurses to re-join the live register and take students.  In order to stay "live" on the register, each mentor must have at least two pre-registration students in three years although most do more than this. They must undertake a face-to-face annual update and they must complete a triennial review every three years.

3)     How does a GP nurse become a mentor?

A nurse can become a mentor by undertaking the full mentorship course, or completing the refresher course, if done previous mentorship training. The practice needs to be aware of and in agreement with the requirements for the nurse to be supervised and in turn to mentor a student at the practice.

4)      What resources are required e.g. more room space, time for one2one, etc.

The student doesn’t require their own room. They should spend at least 40% of their time in with their mentor, observing patient interaction and procedures. Students can also undertake basic tasks, under supervision. Nurses will need to have time for 1-2-1s with the students. Ideally students would get to spend a session with a GP, the practice manager and admin team, to see overall how a practice functions. If there are other services in the practice that students can observe, this would be beneficial to the learning experience. Students can also work within a "hub and spoke" format which means they will go out to other areas for sessions. This can help when mentors are part-time workers and it also gives the student a broader view of healthcare services available and the patient journey.

Practices will need to complete a short assessment document confirming they have the relevant policies and procedures in place (usual employment/health and safety etc. – everything a practice needs to have for CQC anyway).

5)      What are the benefits to the practice? (Service provision, financial-if any, others, etc.)

Once qualified as a Nurse Mentor, the nurse will be added to the entor register and the practice can then receive funded student nurse placements from Plymouth Uni (and elsewhere).  The benefit for the practice is that new nurses are then encouraged to join general practice and perhaps even that practice after they graduate! The main benefit is a chance to show student nurses the joys (!) of working in general practice and grow the GPN workforce from students.

All GP Practice placements are entitled to the Non-NHS Placement Tariff. This is paid at the end of the academic year.

6) What might my student nurse be able to do?

1st year

  • Communication skills– becoming self–aware , developing listening skills
  • Basic life support/choking/recovery position
  • Moving and handling
  • Vital signs monitoring, measurement of;
    • blood pressure
    • Heart rate
    • Temperature
    • Height/weight 
    • Respiration rate
    • Oxygen sats
  • Infection control, Hand hygiene, PPE, Aseptic technique
  • Risk assessment– patient safety/safeguarding
  • Wound management including aseptic technique
  • Peak flows
  • Introduction to basic medicines management & basic drugs calculations

2nd year (including the above)

  • Safe nurse assessment and documentation, recognise and respond to vital signs outside the normal range
  • Communication skills—Learning how to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • CPR– AED pads—including Medicines Management
  • Dealing with complaints
  • Moving and handling (also see placement area policies)
  • Wound management, including;

o   Removal of sutures

o   Removal of clips

  • Diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol and health issues (health promotion)
  • Injections, including;
    • IM**
    • SC**

**Please note any injections must be prescribed first, e.g.B12. Pre-reg nurses cannot follow Patient Group Directives (PGDs) or Patient Specific Directives (PSDs).

3rd year (including the above)

  • Airway Management-Breathing: Oxygen therapy, respiratory assessment
  • Circulation: Recording a 12 Lead ECG
  • Neurological assessment
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Blood sampling for INR machines (point of care testing)
  • Moving and Handling
  • Simulated deteriorating patient scenarios
  • Wound management

For 1st, 2nd & 3rd year students:

  • no administration of IV medication – student involvement in IV medication as observer and under supervision of 2 Registered Nurses (as per IV medication protocol)
  • checking and logging of controlled drugs (e.g. opioids) - student not in role as second checker; any student involvement in controlled medication as observer and under supervision of 2 Registered Nurses (as per controlled medication protocol)
  • no involvement in Central Lines/ Hickman Lines, etc. – observer role only
  • no passing of NG tubes – observer status only, but medication can be administered via NG tube by student under supervision of (competent) Registered Nurse
  • Immunisation: students cannot give immunisations, but 3rd year students can attend the immunisation training
  • if Nurse Mentor has doubts regarding what a student can or cannot/ should or should not do in relation to procedures/ medicines management/ other learning opportunities, etc. please liaise with Link Lecturer/ University

7) Who can students spend time with?

  • A GP
  • A Care Navigator
  • The Reception staff
  • The local pharmacist/practice pharmacist
  • Voluntary sectors you may have good relationships with
  • Leg ulcer clinic
  • Any specialist nurses
  • Walk in clinics
  • Any arranged spokes
  • Do any of your GPs have special interests (GPWSIs)? Could your student sit in on a clinic?
  • Minor surgery clinic
  • Do you attend a Practice Nurse forum – the student could join you
  • Do you have any study days planned? If appropriate could the student join you?

 Students are required to have a qualified Nurse Mentor. Devon CEPN will fund mentorship training for nurses via Plymouth University for any nurses wishing to become mentors and willing to have pre-registration nurse students with them.

To find out more about being a placement provider see Plymouth University’s website here: Plymouth University Student Placements  or Devon CEPN Website
To express interest in being a placement provider, or a nurse mentor, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What the qualifications are required to be a mentor for an undergraduate student nurse?

Details of qualifications

Video on Being a Nurse Mentor

Just in case you haven’t come across this information, you need an update or you are thinking of becoming a mentor here are some useful links from Plymouth University.

On-line Mentor updates at


Info about the new student OAR

Info about the new student E-OAR 

What is triennial review?