Welcome to Career Start

For General Practice Nurses

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 2 year programme.

Career Start Logo

Career Start Nurse

The nurse undertaking the Career Start Programme

Internal Support

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

Career Start Mentor

External experienced practice nurse supporting the Career Start Nurse


As primary care develops and changes to meet the growing health needs of local communities, it is vital that the General Practice Nurse (GPN) workforce also expands and develops. GPNs 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 GPNs 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 GPNs will have little or no prior experience in general practice as they may be newly qualified, moving from other areas of nursing into general practice settings, or returning to practice after a career break. We want new GPNs 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 GPN career.

Career Start

The Career Start programme is designed to support all registered nurses 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 nurses (This will serve as a preceptorship package)
  • Nurses who are moving from other areas of nursing to a general practice setting
  • Nurses who are returning to practice after a career break and have recently registered again on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register
  • Employers, including GPs and Practice Managers who want their newly employed GPNs to grow in competence and confidence and to become integral to the primary health care team

How does the Career Start Programme work?

Career Start is designed to be flexible and ensures the development of a new GPN is supported during the first 2 years. The programme will support different groups of new GPNs including experienced nurses moving to general practice from another area of nursing, newly qualified nurses or nurses who have returned to practice after a break. Career Start will be tailored to meet specific learning need with an individual nurse 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 nurse will receive:

  • A funded expert Career Start Mentor for approximately 1 hour per month for 2 years
  • Funded GPN Fundamentals course or equivalent to £1000 training per year (please note some courses require a practice contribution)
  • Newly qualified nurses are entitled to backfill monies to support their training of £3,800 per year – equating to 4hours 10mins per week. Full details in MOU

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 year 1 training option

Continue with Career Start as discussed with your mentor

Agree year 2 training option

Detailed Overview of Career Start

Throughout the 2 years:

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 2 years in accordance with personal agreements (approx. 8-14 hours per year). Your mentor can be a source of clinical supervision, knowledge, training and much more. Your mentor can also complete 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 nurses 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.

Year 1

Choose from the options:

1. GPN Fundamental Skills – This will involve teaching sessions at a university plus self-directed learning. You will gain all the required practice nurse clinical skills. https://www.lincolnshiretraininghub.nhs.uk/ professional-development/career-start/

2. Individual Clinical Skills – Pick and choose clinical skills courses

3. Specialist Module – Undertake learning in a specialist area of choice

Additionally, work with your mentor to propose/make a change in practice based from your learning this year.

Year 2

Develop from year 1 in any direction you wish your career to take. Your mentor can guide you.

Year 1

Choose from the options below:

Option 1 – GPN Fundamental Skills Programme PG Cert 60 Credits

Join a GPN 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 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.

Year 2

Build on the success of year 1 and choose one or several of the below options:

Develop coaching and mentoring skills by accessing IMPACT Lincs training.

Present at the annual GPN conference. Share your proposed change or learning from year 1.

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

Supervise and assess pre-registration nurses by becoming SSSA trained.

Training in a clinical area of interest e.g. a long term conditions course, women’s health.

Learn the primary care system through joining regional GPN 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.

Year 2 of the programme is more open and fluid than the first year. By the second year, you should be more comfortable in general practice and understand how it works. As such you can build on this knowledge to develop your career in any aspect. It would be useful to think of your development both clinically and in a leadership role – don’t forget a leadership role can be anything from advocating for your patients to a more formal employed leadership role.

We are proud to announce that Lincolnshire Training Hub’s innovative Career Start and Return to Practice Nursing programmes were shortlisted at the 2023 Nursing Times Workforce Awards in the Preceptorship Programme of the Year and Best Recruitment Experience categories respectively. We feel incredibly honoured to have been shortlisted in two categories from a total of 397 nominations and the glittering awards ceremony in London was a fantastic opportunity to fly the flag for Lincolnshire Primary Care

Key contacts for Lincolnshire Training Hub

Kate Berry
Workforce Transformation GP Lead

Ruth Pollock
Project Manager

Runa Saha
Medical Director

Susan McElnea
Business Director

Hannah Daniel
Lead Nurse
currently on maternity leave

Gill Beardmore
GPN Transformation Lead

Stacey Mayo
Administration and Communications Officer

Lisa Freeman
Director of Nursing

Stacey Mayo
Administration and Communications Officer

Lucy Merrill
Clinical Educator

New to Practice Fellowship/Career Start talks

For recordings of previous New to Practice Fellowship/Career Start talks, please click button below:

The Career Start for Nurses programme is now closed to new applicants. If you are interested in receiving details of further preceptorship opportunities, please complete the form below: