The Shaftesbury Partnership, with the support of Guys’ and St. Thomas’s Charity, have completed their feasibility study for a new community nursing training programme aimed at creating the next generation of community nurse entrepreneurs who will transform community health services.
Nurse First’ is an innovative response to the increasing demands on the NHS, resulting from a rising number of people living with long-term health conditions. Policy makers and commissioners have for some time recognised the need to focus on prevention and public health, and for greater options to deliver healthcare in the community. But changes in community health delivery have been piecemeal and have not kept up with the pace of increasing demand on the NHS. With government policy moving further towards expanding patient choice not only over the hospital they attend, but of the setting in which they are treated, there is a huge opportunity for front-line workers who can innovate of new methods of service delivery in the NHS that are both cost-effective and improve patient care.
Nurse First’ will offer new and experienced community nurses, including District Nurses and Health Visitors, a modular course that will build their skills in enterprise, business, innovation and front-line leadership and help create the support network for people with new ideas for the community health service. It will release the creative potential of the best community nurses to develop improvements in tackling health problems in their community with ‘Nurse First’ graduates taking the lead in creating new models of service that improve patients outcomes and quality of life while reducing the burden on hospitals.
The Shaftesbury Partnership has developed the concept with the input and support of the Royal College of Nursing and the Queens Nursing Institute, as well as with existing training universities, NHS providers and commissioners and policy makers. We are now building partnerships with representatives of the nursing workforce and training universities to design a curriculum for ‘Nurse First’ and pilot the programme.