A Guide To Becoming A Training Practice

The South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub is responsible for the coordination of GP placements for undergraduate nurses across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. We currently have over 50 practices in Doncaster, Bassetlaw, Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield signed up with us to take undergraduate nursing students on Hub and Spoke placements. 

We are always looking to increase our numbers of placements across the patch. Hosting student nurses can bring great benefits to the practice 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 nursing 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 of taking nursing students?

Undergraduate nurses bring energy and motivation to the practice and our Mentors 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 GPN Ready Scheme.

On a practical level, practices receive a tariff of £120 per student, per week, payable at the end of each placement. 

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 nursing students, one or more members of the Hub team will arrange a time to visit the practice to and 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 PPQA 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.

You will also be visited by the University Lead Link Lecturer for your area who will conduct an audit of the practice and will be the point of contact for supporting your Nurse Mentors. 

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. 

What is the difference between Hub and Spoke placements?

Hub placements are usually 8-12 week blocks and they require a Mentor trained on an NMC approved Mentorship course to assess that the undergraduate nurse has met their competencies. The Mentor will need to be on the Mentor register, to have had an annual Mentor Update and to have completed an up-to-date Triennial Review (if appropriate.) The Mentor must be available to the student for 40% of the student’s time on placement.

Spoke placements are shorter in length (usually 3-4 week ‘experience’ placements) and they do not require trained Mentors at the practice. Students can spend time both with nurses at the practice and with other clinicians/ linked services to ensure that they have a varied and multi-professional experience. They may also spend time with non-clinical staff to learn about the ‘business’ side of General Practice.

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.

What is a ‘Sign Off’ placement?

These placements are with a 3rd year (consolidation) nursing student and they require a Mentor trained on an NMC-approved Mentorship course who has also undertaken additional ‘Sign Off’ training. The Sign Off Mentor must sign the student off as capable of safe and efficient practice, fit to be on the professional register. These placements are usually longer (12-15 weeks) but the student nurses are more experienced and require less direct supervision and input from their Mentors.

How should my practice structure a student nurse’s placement?

The NMC recommends that the student nurse should be supervised by their Mentor for at least 40% of the working week. For the remaining time on placement, students can benefit from a range of different learning opportunities, such as:

  • observing/ sitting in with clinical staff
  • working alongside receptionists and practice administrators
  • community based visits (district nurses, health visitors etc)

The Mentor should also have protected time during the course of the week to de-brief the student nurse and to help them to reflect on their learning during the course of a session.

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 Mentor status (there is some funding available for this)
  • advice on training to achieve Sign Off Mentor status
  • Twice-yearly Mentor updates in Rotherham, Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster and Sheffield, in conjunction with University Lead Link Lecturers for each area
  • Advice and support for nurses on Mentor Updates and Triennial Reviews.

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