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Jenny Bostock, an advanced nurse practitioner and one of 40 nurses running a PCN in England, shares her unique perspective
What motivated you to become a clinical director?
As a nurse leader I’ve been involved in workforce planning and helped raise standards in several practices in East Kent, facilitating an integrated team approach. This, and my experience as nurse representative for the local CCG board, is why I was interested in this role. Collaborative working makes sense. My communication style differs from that of my GP colleagues as my work is generally more about self-help, health promotion, ongoing management and treatment. It’s a team effort between me, the GPs and the patient. My ability to engage with all PCN staff from the cleaners to GP partners has played a huge part in bringing all our teams together and I think it is where nurses can really excel as our skill set and experiences are so diverse. Also, I think nurses are seen as more approachable. I am passionate to showcase how effective a nurse leader can be.
What’s been the best moment as a PCN CD?
Seeing the practices helping each other and supporting the new roles. They have started sharing good practice and have moved away from silo working. Covid has helped with collaborative working and sharing of staff. New roles such as clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been a great asset, and have improved patient care and prescribing systems to ensure safe, efficient medication reviews and improved communication with Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency reporting. Social prescribers have been a source of support for our vulnerable population, preventing numerous GP contacts by offering continuity of care and signposting to alternative appropriate services. Everyone has embraced the changes in the way we work. Being able to innovate and having funding has been amazing.
And the worst?
Trying to balance full-time clinical work with numerous meetings has been a challenge. The additional CD hours have helped, but the sea of emails is relentless. I struggle with the practice’s needs and CD role. The evening meetings have also been a negative as work has followed me home. I hope the increase in funding for CD hours will support the workload.
What has the experience taught you so far?
To be resilient, not to stress about things I cannot change and to look at ways of overcoming barriers. To be proactive and to keep pushing boundaries.
Do you have any tips or hacks that help you get through the workload?
Look at meetings and decide if you need to be present. Deputise if possible. Keep on top of emails – allocate time every day. Have regular breaks and try not to email after 10pm or before 8am.
Do you have a goal or a target for your PCN?
To achieve full integration and collaboration between the practices, social care, community services and mental health services, ensuring the PCN addresses health inequalities and raises standards. I would like to see a unified diverse workforce with the funding to provide great services and care, while also valuing the teams that are providing these services. This includes having career pathways similar to secondary care that encourage and secure a future workforce.
Who or what inspires you?
My mother. She taught me to aim high and told me to listen before speaking.
Where do you turn for support?
The WhatsApp groups have been a great source of support. Also, I join the other nurse CDs via the NHS Confederation. The free coaching from NHS England has also been a good resource.
What do you do to relax?
The last year has been a challenge as lockdown has restricted many activities but I have managed to get headspace by walking and baking, perhaps not as often as I would like.
Practice: The Grange, Ramsgate, Kent
Number of practices in PCN: Five
Number of patients in PCN: 52,000
PCN roles hired: Four clinical pharmacists, two pharmacy technicians, two social prescribers, two care navigators, one administrator, two trainee nursing associates
PCN roles to fill: Seeking a mental health worker and nursing associates
Career to date
• 1986 Qualified at the Middlesex Hospital London
• 1986-1996 Ward sister in a variety of hospitals and specialties including orthopaedics, general medicine, ophthalmology, ENT, A&E, high dependency units and surgical wards
• 1996 Practice nurse at Northgate Practice and University Medical Centre Canterbury, Kent
• 2000 Qualified as a practice educator, lead nurse in general practice, Christ Church University, Canterbury
• 2004 Qualified as a nurse practitioner, South Bank University, London
• 2006 Lead nurse at Kent University practice and campus walk-in centre
• 2010 Canterbury and Coastal CCG lead of nurse governing body
• 2014 Director of nursing at Invicta Health Community Interest Company
• 2017 Awarded title of Queen’s Nurse by the Queen’s Nurse Institute (QNI) for improvements in primary care, developing the clinical pharmacist role in reviewing medications and carrying out health checks
• 2018 to present Advanced nurse practitioner, mentor, clinical supervisor, The Grange practice, Kent
• 2019 to present CD, Ramsgate PCN