A Guide To Becoming A Training Practice

The South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub is responsible for the co-ordination of placements in General Practice for undergraduate nurses across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. We currently have over 70 practices in Doncaster, Bassetlaw, Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield signed up with us to take undergraduate nursing students on placement. We are also looking into co-ordinating General Practice placements for students from other healthcare disciplines. 

We are always looking to increase our numbers of placements across the patch. Hosting undergraduate students  can bring great benefits to the practice/PCN as well as to the students, who get an introduction to primary care that may hopefully inspire them to see it as a potential career destination!

This guide aims to answer some ‘frequently asked questions’ about becoming a Training Practice and starting to take students on placement.

What is the background behind increasing the number of undergraduate placements in GP?

In the current climate of a stretched and ageing workforce, introducing undergraduate students to roles in GP increases the number of students likely to consider primary care as a first-choice career post-qualification. South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub is seeking to increase the capacity of learning placements across the area in order to secure the primary care workforce of the future.

What are the benefits to the practice/PCN of taking students?

Undergraduate students bring energy and motivation to the practice and our Practice Educators report that they enjoy being able to reflect on their own practice and to refresh their own knowledge. Not only do practices feel a great sense of purpose in helping to grow the GP workforce of the future, they may also benefit from having student nurses on placement (particularly 3rd years) if they are looking to recruit through the Primary Care Nurse Vocational Training Programme.

On a practical level, practices receive an enhanced tariff of £120 per student, per week, payable at the end of each placement (tariff fixed for 2020-21 financial year.)

What are the requirements of being a Training Practice?

Practices need to meet a set of criteria designed to ensure that all placements are good quality. This is determined by a visit from members of the Hub team. An audit of the practice also needs to be undertaken by the University Lead Link Lecturer for the practice area.

What is the procedure to become a Training Practice?

If you agree to take undergraduate students, one or more members of the Hub team will arrange a time to visit the practice (face to face or online) to ensure that all of the requirements for being a Training Practice are in place. We will determine whether your nurses need support with their Mentorship qualifications and we will work with you to set up a practice profile on the online PARE placements database. You will be asked to sign an LDA (Learning Development Agreement) with Health Education England which acts as a commitment to providing quality placements for undergraduate nurses. This agreement also allows the practice to be paid a £120 per student, per week tariff for hosting placements.

The University Lead Link Lecturer for your area will also conduct an audit of the practice (face to face or online) and will be the point of contact for supporting your Practice Educators.

Can the practice take more than one student at a time?

Practices can take more than one student at a time if they have capacity. This is determined at the point of audit.

How long are the placements?

Placement length varies according to the academic year that the student is in, but is generally around 12-15 weeks, often split up into two blocks with a gap in between. 

How are students allocated? 

Students are allocated by the University, in conjunction with the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub. The Hub will provide details of the placements being requested (dates, placement length, cohorts etc.) to the practice and there is no obligation to accept every placement that is requested. The Hub team understand the pressures of GP and although practices are asked to take at least three students over the course of the year, we understand if this is not possible or practical.

How should my practice structure a student’s placement?

The level of supervision that a student requires depends on their specific learning needs and stage of learning. A student in Year 1 will be working to guided participation in care, a Year 2 student will be working to active participation in care with minimal supervision, while a Year 3 student will be working to practising independently with minimal supervision and leading/co-ordinating care with confidence.

The NMC (2018) states that all registered nurses are capable of role-modelling safe & effective practice and supervising students. As a result, all registered nurses are required to supervise or assess students in practice, while other registered health and social care professionals may also supervise them. Practice Supervisors need to be prepared for this role by undertaking Practice Supervisor training. This training varies according to different categories of experience:

  • Member of staff with a Mentoring/ Coaching qualification – needs to have done a Transition Update to move across to the new NMC standards for practice educators. Please contact us for further details of Transition Updates in your area.
  • Member of staff with no previous training in/experience with supervision of students – can undertake Practice Supervisor training, either through local training or online.
  • Member of staff who has graduated from university post 2019 – will already have undertaken Practice Supervisor training as part of their degree course.

Students can therefore work alongside various Practice Supervisors during their time on placement and can benefit from a range of different learning opportunities, such as:

  • observing/ sitting in with clinical staff (from different disciplines as well as their own)
  • working alongside non-clinical staff (e.g. receptionists and practice administrators) to learn about the ‘business’ side of General Practice
  • community based visits (district nurses, health visitors etc)
  • time for reflection on their learning

What support can the Hub provide to the practice?

The Hub can support your practice by providing:

  • support to meet the standards required to become a Training Practice
  • advice on training to achieve Practice Supervisor status 
  • advice on training to achieve Practice Assessor status
  • Regular PS/PA updates in Rotherham, Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster and Sheffield, in conjunction with University Lead Link Lecturers for each area (sometimes done online)
  • Advice and support on using the online PARE placements database

If you are interested in becoming a Training Practice, please contact us here.