Welcome to Career Start

for General Practice Nursing Associates

Supporting The First Steps In Your General Practice Nursing Associate Career

Career start is a flexible programme designed to fund and support your training and career development needs. This guide provides a detailed overview of the 1 year programme.

Career Start Logo

Career Start Nursing Associate

The Nursing Associate undertaking the Career Start Programme

Internal Support

The person available within practice for the Career Start Nursing Associate to facilitate their training/support

Career Start Mentor

External experienced practice nurse supporting the Career Start Nursing Associate


As primary care develops and changes to meet the growing health needs of local communities, it is vital that the General Practice Nursing Associate (NA) workforce also expands and develops. NAs play an important role in care delivery within multidisciplinary teams in primary care particularly in relation to health promotion, screening and long-term condition management. As new NAs are recruited to primary care multidisciplinary teams they will require support in developing expertise and capacity to deliver care in general practice settings. It is anticipated that many new NAs will have little or no prior experience in general practice as they may be newly qualified or moving from other areas of nursing into general practice settings. We want new NAs to quickly feel at home in general practice, and know that support, both professionally and personally will help to build skill and develop confidence. We hope that Career Start will provide a strong foundation on which to build a long and rewarding NA career.

Career Start

The Career Start programme is designed to support all registered NAs who are new to general practice as well as those (practices and colleagues) who support them. Specifically, it will be of benefit to:

  • Newly qualified NAs (This will serve as a preceptorship package)
  • NAs who are moving from other areas to a general practice setting
  • Employers, including GPs and Practice Managers who want their newly employed or registered NA to grow in competence and confidence and to become integral to the primary healthcare team

How does the Career Start Programme work?

Career Start is designed to be flexible and ensures the development of a new NA is supported during the first year. The programme will support different groups of new NAs including newly qualified NAs or experienced NAs moving to general practice from another area. Career Start will be tailored to meet specific learning needs with the individual NA and mentor choosing which learning opportunity is best placed to build both competence and confidence. The opportunities available are listed below with further detail following.

How is Career Start funded?

Career Start does not incur a cost to the Practice. Each Nursing Associate will receive:

  • A funded expert Career Start Mentor for approximately 1 hour per month for a year
  • Funding towards fundamental skills courses (please note some courses require a practice contribution)

Career Start Journey

Join the Career Start Programme and sign the MOU

Career Start Mentor Assigned

Mentor to make contact within 2 weeks and arrange initial meeting

Reflect and consider development goals

Meet with mentor

Agree on training option

Continue with Career Start as discussed with your mentor

Detailed Overview of Career Start

Throughout the programme:

A dedicated Career Start Mentor – – A personal mentor will be allocated to you. All mentors are experienced GPNs working within general practice in Lincolnshire. Your mentor will provide support and guidance throughout the year in accordance with personal agreements (12 hour). Your mentor can be a source of clinical supervision, knowledge, training and much more. Your mentor can also provide professional support

Learning opportunities – – There are many opportunities to develop knowledge external to structured courses. LTH and the mentors can guide you to these opportunities which can include joining local meetings, observing the LMC committee or visiting another practice. Opportunities can be personalised to your career stage and desires.

Networking opportunities – – As an experienced GPN, your mentor will have many networks and connections throughout Lincolnshire and wider. You can join these networks and develop your own based on your career interests.

Career advice and signposting – General practice is a unique environment with diverse career opportunities. Some NAs follow a traditional route of developing clinically, others develop managerially whilst others have a portfolio career including research, leadership and more. LTH is available to provide advice or act as a sounding board for your career goals and aspirations.

Lincolnshire GPN Society Events – Evening events held around the county with a meal, training and networking. A fabulous opportunity to meet your colleagues in a less formal environment whilst keeping up to date.

Training Options

Choose from the options below:

Option 1 – Fundamental Skills Programme 60 credits level 6

Join a fundamentals programme to gain key essential skills including Venepuncture, Cervical Cytology, Immunisation Child and Adult, Ear Care, Long Term Conditions, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities, Safeguarding and more. Build on the above options with support of your mentor to make/propose a change in practice. Contact LTH for more information.

Option 2 – Individual Skills Courses

Complete a variety of skills courses such as Venepuncture, Cervical Cytology, Immunisation Child and Adult, Ear Care, travel health as deemed by yourself, your practice and mentor. LTH quality assured courses can be found through our website. Additional courses can be requested but will require prior approval from LTH.

Option 3 – Specialist Module

Focus on an area of interest for example diabetes or asthma and complete a specialist module. LTH quality assured courses can be found through our website. Additional courses can be requested but will require prior approval from LTH.

For all options: Build on the above options with support of your mentor to make/propose a change in practice.

  • Identify within practice an improvement / change that is needed
  • Collaborate within the General Practice team understanding the needs of the business, development within the team
  • Develop an understanding of General Practice working
  • Experience of managing a project and developing leadership skill
  • Increase awareness of change management and help to promote organizational change
  • Share best evidenced based practice

Previous project ideas include the introduction of nurses at the practice safeguarding meeting, creating a collaborative approach to annual reviews to reduce number of times patients attend and, starting cervical smear drop in sessions to increase smear uptake.

Additional opportunities:

Develop coaching and mentoring skills by accessing IMPACT Lincs or LTH training

Present at the annual Nursing Conference. Share your proposed change or learning.

Develop leadership and project management skill through the leadership academy courses.

Supervise and assess pre-registration NAs and nurses (year 1&2) by becoming SSSA trained.

Learn the primary care system through joining regional meetings, working with the LTH nursing team.

Join a LTH project on a local or regional level e.g. attend career fairs for student nurses. Join the Career Start recruitment project.

Any topic or area you wish to develop after discussing with the LTH and Practice Nurse Mentor.

Nursing Associate General
Practice Competencies

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that they do not allow their NA to accept delegated tasks unless the NA has sufficient support, supervision, education and training to enable them to competently undertake the aspects of care that are being delegated.

Key contacts for Lincolnshire Training Hub

Lisa Freeman
Director of Nursing

Hannah Daniel
Lead Nurse
Currently on maternity leave


Samantha Simpson
Nursing Associate Ambassador

Gill Beardmore
GPN Transformation Lead

Stacey Mayo
Administration and Communications Officer

Ruth Pollock
Project Manager

Lucy Merrill
Clinical Educator

Runa Saha
Medical Director

Susan McElnea
Business Director