The future: AP and GP collaboration
25th September 2017
In the ever changing world of healthcare, where models of care are continuously evolving, we strive to ensure our workforce is fully equipped to provide services that are safe, effective and of the highest quality.
gtd healthcare is an avid supporter of providing our staff with the right training and development to further enhance their skills and ensure our workforce is fit-for-purpose.
Our multidisciplinary team approach enables our clinicians to develop a network to share expertise and adopt flexible and responsive healthcare services. A crucial role within our clinical teams is that of an advanced practitioner (AP) and investing in the training of suitably qualified nurses to AP level is paramount.
Claire Mann, a newly qualified AP who works at Lindley Medical Practice’s walk-in centre in Oldham, said working autonomously is a fundamental requirement for this role.
"Qualified APs have many years’ experience as a nurse, more than 20 years in my case,” she said.
"The entry level alone recommends a master’s degree and the two-year course focuses heavily on ensuring students have an expert knowledge base, complex decision making skills and clinical competencies for expanded practice.
"Where some may argue there is a blurring of boundaries across clinical professions, I very much see my role as one that compliments that of a GP. Yes, I make independent decisions, but the role of an AP is a supplementary role, one that works in collaboration with GPs and is able to provide complete episodes of care for patients presenting with a wide variety of health and social care needs.
"It’s imperative that we respond to the current climate of GP shortages and we need to look to the future and revise our skill mix. It’s crucial that we embrace new ways of working and, ultimately, patients access the most appropriate healthcare professionals. Importantly, as an AP, I will be able to see and treat complex and acute patients and prescribe medication once I complete the appropriate module. Therefore, my aim is to free up GPs, whose role is rapidly expanding, so that they can focus on the more seriously-ill patients and specialised areas of their work.
"The role is very much evolving and with close working with GPs, it can be shaped to their requirements. I am excited about collaborating with GPs so that we can be innovative in our approach and share best practice. I believe integrating the workforce will not only benefit patients but will enhance clinical expertise across the board.”
APs are integrated with the GP workforce from the very beginning of the training when a GP mentor is assigned to every trainee. The input and experience a GP can share is seen as a valuable and integral part of the training and future of the role.
Fundamentally, undertaking the training to qualify as APs, with the crucial support of GPs, enables already highlyexperienced practitioners to advance their skills and knowledge within a specific area of practice to provide a quality service thatsupplements the currentGP provision. The overarching aim is to provide accessible health care for all and reduce accident and emergency attendances.
GP mentorship for the prescribing module
The role of an AP is undoubtedly an asset to the organisation and we encourage GPs to volunteer themselves as mentors for the prescribing module.
Long-term, APs who are able to prescribe contribute towards:
- supporting and relieving the ever-growing pressures within a healthcare setting, including financial and recruitment
- providing patients with timely access to treatment with medicines
- improving patient experience while reducing waiting times and hospital admissions
- utilising members of the healthcare team in a more efficient manner
GP mentorship is instrumental in enabling APs to complete their prescribing module. This involves overseeing APs’ practice, via 45 hours direct and 45 hoursindirect contact with a designated GP mentor. While this is a short-term commitment for the GPs, it will unquestionably strengthen relationships and generate an understanding of the knowledge and skills APs possess and how they can transfer these to the workplace to create an overarching collaborative clinical team.