Why I’m choosing to go straight into Practice Nursing

As most of you know if you’ve been following me on twitter, I am extremely passionate about practice nursing, so much so that I have taken a post for when I qualify in July. This however is not what I had planned..

At the start of my adult nursing degree I was dead set that I wanted to work somewhere as challenging and gory as possible- In short A&E or theatres, however as the three years have progressed I have fallen more and more out of love with acute care nursing, so much so that I considered leaving the course in second year. Each placement I was faced with mentors who did not have ‘time for students’ and was often left to my own devices, working as a healthcare assistant more than a student nurse. As much as I loved this opportunity to get to know my patients and spend as much time with them as possible, I felt that my actual clinical skills were not as developed as I had hoped or imagined to be.

So you can imagine my delight when I found out my first placement of third year was in a General Practice- 8 weeks of regular hours, no shift work, no nights and no weekends. Pure bliss! Before even starting my placement I was contacted by the practice, asking if I had any off-duty requests and then with a detailed timetable of where I would be working for the entire 8 weeks, this was a stark contrast from ringing the wards and getting ‘Cassie who..?’ as well as often finding out my shifts only a week in advance. This gave me the opportunity to actually plan out the next two months of my life and have a proper ‘work-life’ balance, something that I had missed over the last 2 years of my nursing degree.

My first day I was greeted at reception, given a tour of the entire practice and got to spend time with each area of the practice including reception, care navigation and dispensary so that I got an entire feel of the practice and how it worked on my first day.

Throughout my placement I was encouraged to spend time with the entire MDT team, including the GP partners, the paramedic, nurse practitioner, assistant practitioner, HCA’s and of course the practice nurses.

No two days with the practice nurses were the same. We would go from seeing new borns for their immunisations to leg ulcers then to cervical smears. I was amazed by the variety of skills that the practice nurses had, their clinical skills surpassed those that I had seen in acute care. They worked much more autonomously, making clinical decisions regarding things such as wound management, chronic disease management and much more in-between. Although the chronic disease management decisions had to go through the doctors, this was often in partnership with the nurse and their clinical opinion.

I began to fall in love, the variety of patients that I would see on a day to day basis meant that I was literally caring for people ‘from the cradle to the grave’, I was able to promote health in a positive way, having time to speak to patients about their lifestyles and the small improvements that could be done. Finally all of the theory and clinical placements were clicking in to place. I had to use all of my clinical, communication and management skills each day, meaning that I was able to develop these further. Putting me in good stead for my final placement.

While I was on placement they had a position open for a Practice Nurse due to recent retirements. While I would have loved this position, I understood that they needed to employ somebody asap and so I didn’t even consider applying. However as my placement went on I was asked ‘where do you want to work when you qualify’ and people seemed shocked when I told them this placement had swayed me, I wanted to work in general practice. They then asked me if I would consider the position if the nurse practitioner put me forward, I was shocked and thrilled! I could not believe I would even be considered, let alone offered the position..this would not have happened without the entire practice support, rather than the usual ‘you can’t go straight into practice nursing, you need at least a years ward experience’ they understood and agreed..why go and work in a hospital when you have no plans to actually work there? Something the nurse practitioner knew too well, having gone straight in to Practice Nursing from qualifying, she was my biggest support and put me forward for the role, doing all the background work with the amazing assistant practitioner to ensure a plan was put in place until I qualify.

I have now accepted the role and cannot wait to start working there when I qualify- I truly feel like I have found my place and family in nursing, something that I had been missing from all previous placements. We are hopeful that I will be able to go back for my final management placement and then begin to go on specialist courses such as cytology(smears), child immunisations, phlebotomy and chronic disease management. These are all skills that I would not have if I had choose to work in the hospital,nor would I be as confident as an autonomous worker- having to make clinical decisions on a daily basis. In short as a practice nurse I will be doing things such as:

  • Child and baby immunisations
  • Travel vaccinations
  • Cytology (smears)
  • Wound management- Including leg ulcers
  • Health promotion
  • Vaccinations such as shingles, whooping cough, flu etc
  • Telephone consultations
  • Phlebotomy
  • Sexual Health
  • Home/Nursing home visits
  • Chronic condition reviews such as diabetes, CHD, Hypertension and Asthma
  • ECG’s
  • Assisting in Minor Surgery
  • Mental Health and Memory assessments
  • A&E walk-ins such as burns, minor injuries and everything in-between!
  • Continuity of patient care- seeing people from the start of life to the end.

This list is not exhaustive and each day a practice nurse is faced with something different. I have plans to continue developing my training and aim to eventually become a nurse practitioner.

Practice Nursing is my calling, that is something I am sure of. Despite the outdated view that it has ‘no career development’ or ‘somewhere nice to retire to’ I know that my future in nursing is bright, there is so much to learn, so many skills to develop and I cannot wait to get started.


why would I ever want to work any where else???

If any one has any further questions about Practice Nursing or would like to know more then don’t hesitate to get in touch!


14 thoughts on “Why I’m choosing to go straight into Practice Nursing

  1. I’m a practice nurse at a GP surgery in Cambridge. Much of what you have said is how I feel as well. Very nice to read such a positive blog. Thank you for posting and good luck 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Practice nursing is a specialist area all of its own. I’m really pleased you have chosen to be a practice nurse. So much to learn and achieve.
    You have done well to reach your pen ultimate goal. Learning as you know never stops.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s great that you have found your passion and well done with securing the job at the practice you love. I started as a practice nurse with no experience in January this year and it has been a great journey. I would recommend the postgraduate diploma called Fundamentals of General Practice Nursing if you can get a place at University. It’s only 1 year part time and my place was funded by Health Education England. It helped me to learn essential skills in a more structured way, for example cytology, childhood immunisation, ear irrigation and other skills. I’ve felt really supported while I’ve been doing this course and I think I’ve progressed faster too. Good luck!


  4. Good luck. I am just about to start my first placement, which is on a ward but I am looking forward to doing all my placements to see it I can decide where I would like to practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely comments. I’m a P/N of 15 years now and still love the job! I’ve seen far more than I would have in hospital!! The skills I have
    learned, the things that I now know!! It is no longer a dead end career – there are lots of choices! I’m now a lead “Respiratory Specialist Nurse” but can still deal with smears, imms, wound care etc. I always say to acute care nurses who actually say that my
    Job must be boring – I can walk onto a ward any day and do their job – can’t say the same about mine!! Good luck 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You will never be happier, I am sure you have read how every one is tired and burnt out etc.
    Trying to juggle turnaround shifts etc.
    I have nursed probably more years than you have been alive and guess what with 3 years to retirement I would swap my job as a Snr ITU nurse to going back to.practice Birmingham a heartbeat.
    Enjoy, nursing comes in many shapes and forms and you have chosen with your heart and all the best in your new career.


  7. This is so inspirational – I’m a mature student at 44 and I’m beginning to fall in love with practice nursing – I had a placement in my first year with a wonderful mentor and luckily I am back at the same practice for my 5/6 placement . I love the hours I love the content and I love the relationships that you build as part of the team . I have been told frequently I need at least a year in the hospital . So to hear this is like a breath of fresh air 🥰 thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Wendy, glad to hear you are falling in love with it! You definitely don’t need to have hospital experience, like I said I the blog why would you work in a hospital and be miserable when that isn’t somewhere you ever plan on working! Keep persevering with it and the right practice will definitely come along who promotes NQN!


  8. Hi Cassie, I’m Danny and I would love to seek your advice on how to pursue a career in practice nursing without any exposure to the field during my degree’s placement, without any counselling and assistance about the field from my university and also without any lived experience nurses to ask any questions about. I keep doing researches of various General Practice places and the process to apply and to get employed but everything is so overwhelming for a freshly graduate nurse straight out of university. While every single one of my friends who already land a graduate year in their own hospitals, I really want to explore the area of General Practice nursing as throughout my clinical placements, I was in the similar situation like yours and unfortunately, the curriculum in my state does not include General Practice as part of the whole degree placements at all so this area is totally foreign to everyone. I really to get in touch with you and hope to hear back from you soon and thank you, Cassie, for reading my reply.


    1. Hi Danny, as I am based in the UK our systems etc may be different. I would suggest contacting a general practice with a job opening and ask if they would be happy for you to spend some time with the nurses (shadowing etc) to see if that is an area you are interested in! Or you could simply apply to a practice nurse post and explain the position you are in to them, hopefully they will see you’re willing and give you a chance! Sorry I can’t be more help…just not sure of the system in the U.S!


  9. I posted this in a primary health nurse network group I created here in Australia last year, and I’m just going through old posts to repost some of the best as our group has really grown in the last few months. This is one of my all time favourite articles. Thank you so much for writing this.


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