A new document has been published outlining the key competencies required of practice nurses if they are redeployed into community roles during the coronavirus crisis.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute set out the guidance, called Minimum Bridging Competencies for General Practice Nurses Transitioning to Community Nursing, which was funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement.
“Community nurses are nonetheless playing a critical role in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic”
The competencies are designed to support general practice nurses (GPNs) taking on new roles at short notice.
GPNs already support district and community nursing teams when there is reduced capacity, and so far they have aided in home visits to shielded patients, carried out interventions to avoid hospital admissions and facilitated hospital discharge.
The framework noted that these competencies are to be used within a district nursing team or wider community setting, and led by an experienced nurse in this area.
Nurses who have transitioned are not required to perform first assessments with patients or to manage a caseload and they must work within their scope of practice.
The competencies cover visiting skills, clinical assessment skills, managing long-term conditions and end-of-life care.
There is also an emphasis on population health and considerations for managing Covid-19 – including keeping up to date on the latest personal protective equipment guidance in the community.
“I am delighted to see this work to provide nurses across our primary and community services with the bridging competencies they need”
It also suggested the implementation of a “peer support system” to help nurses when transitioning into their new roles.
Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the QNI, said: “We are delighted to be working with colleagues in NHS England and Improvement and Health Education England to support nurses to work collaboratively in the community.
“The vital role of community nurses may be less visible in the media than that of their hospital colleagues, but they are nonetheless playing a critical role in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By supporting residents in their own communities 24/7, including some of the most vulnerable people in society, in both community and primary care settings, community nurses are vital to the whole system approach to protecting all our health at this critical time.”
Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, added: “I am delighted to see this work to provide nurses across our primary and community services with the bridging competencies they need to support our must vulnerable patients in community settings.
“I would like to say a special thanks for their work in this to colleagues Karen Storey, primary care nursing lead, and Dr Bola Owolabi, national specialty adviser [for] older people and integrated person-centred care.”