Brent out-of-hours
Brent out-of-hours

Nurse practitioners – they’re certainly not just playing at it

May 11 2016

Thursday May 12 is International Nurses Day. Nursing takes many shapes and forms in many different locations. Birmingham-based Rebecca Ransome-Wallis is a specialist nurse practitioner and plays a key role in patient care.

In the old days, it was relatively simple. You had doctors and you had nurses. Children played at them and their roles were, at least in the children’s minds, clearly defined. The doctor made you better and the nurse took your temperature and changed your bandage.

Of course, it never was that straightforward, but fast forward a few decades to the 21st century and things have changed considerably, in more ways than one. Children now play Wi and Xbox – and healthcare has seen the advent of an important new role, the nurse practitioner. And whilst nurse may remain prominent in this title, the actual role is a world away from just temperature taking and bandage dressing.

Birmingham-based Rebecca Ransome-Wallis is a specialist nurse practitioner. She is also lead nurse at The Hill General Practice and Urgent Care Centre in Stratford Road, Sparkhill, which is run on behalf of the local NHS by Care UK.

Both Rebecca and Care UK firmly believe the role of the nurse practitioner is pivotal not only to the local service but to the future of healthcare in this country. When you see what is involved in becoming a nurse practitioner, it’s hardly surprising.

After undergoing her basic nursing training, Rebecca has trained and qualified as a specialist nurse practitioner in community/district nursing. It means she can assess, diagnose and prescribe medication and make immediate hospital referrals. Her role sees her working within an urgent care centre setting as well as in the community and carrying out home visits.

“Nurse practitioners are not a replacement GP service but I believe we are an important supplementary workforce and very well qualified to carry out the majority of a GP’s role. I look upon nurse practitioners as maxi nurses rather than mini GPs. If I need to consult with a GP I always have that opportunity but that happens very rarely. Occasionally I may seek advice from a hospital specialist, but then so will a GP,” said Theresa.

 “In my experience, nurse practitioners will tend to look at the bigger picture of a patient’s problem rather than merely treat the symptoms. For instance, if getting up and down stairs is part of the issue, a nurse, particularly one with a community background, is more likely to involve other services to see if that issue can be resolved.”

Dr Marjorie Gillespie, Primary Care Medical Director at Care UK, said: “Highly trained and experienced advanced and specialist nurse practitioners are a valued and important part of our workforce. I firmly believe they have an ever increasing role to play in the provision of first-class patient healthcare, both in and out of hours.”

 

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