19th November 2020

At Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) we’re proud to offer a diverse range of health care related courses designed to train and upskill at all levels, be they budding professionals or seasoned practitioners.

Innovation is the driving force of these courses, particularly the MA Health and Social Care Leadership along with the MSc Primary and Community Care, which look to explore opportunities to take the health care profession to a new level.

Responding to changing needs

Changing health and social needs, due in part to longer lifespans and rapidly ageing populations around the world, mean that many causes of ill health are chronic and more complex due to comorbidities (e.g. Diabetes, respiratory disease). This therefore requires the providers of Health and Social care to respond in a dynamic, flexible and sustainable way to these pressures and challenges. While adapting, the focus of practitioners must be on the delivery of safe, effective and appropriate care. This is where the research carried out by the Health and Social team, led by Nicki Walsh, comes into its own.

Over the last few years, Nicki has presented research at a number of international conferences and collaboration events. Her paper the 2nd International Conference on Nursing Science & Practice (United Scientific Group) in London looked at a number of interventions and activities which are occurring locally to support the GPN agenda. This included the work with Lincs West CCG, which sees a monthly GPN Educational Forum held at BGU. It also looked at the data from the evaluation of a project with the University of Lincoln, which explored getting newly qualified nurses into General Practice. In addition, Nicki presented her preliminary findings from her PhD, which is using a diabetes lens to look at the value and effectiveness of continuing professional development (CPD) for GPNs.

Promoting General Practice

General Practice (in the UK) is well placed to respond to these pressures (NHS England 2013 and NHS England 2015). At the heart of this response is the General Practice Nurse (GPN) however workforce demographics and years of underinvestment in the workforce will see the number of skilled nurses needed reduce considerably in the next 10 years (QNI, 2015), causing what can be termed a “knowledge haemorrhage”, where practice experience and intuitive practice are lost. Therefore, investment in pre-registration and post registration professional education along with creative solutions which respond to this knowledge loss are needed (Walsh, 2017). This is particularly true of recruitment and retention both of which are key to ensuring that provision is fit for purpose.

In addition to this Nicki’s collaborative work with Rachel Mason (from the University of Lincoln) was presented at the Queen’s Nursing Institute Conference at the Royal College of GPs. This showcased work which saw undergraduate student nurses undertake their final management placement within General Practice. This was again well received and work is currently being carried out to prepare a case study for the Atlas of Shared Learning at the request of NHS England, which is designed to showcase examples of good practice designed to lead change across the NHS.

Collaborative project to support Carers

Leanne McHugh a former Health Visitor has be instrumental in gaining the Care Award for BGU. The innovative 'Caring for Carers' project was launched as part of a Health and Social Care Staff and Student collaboration to gain the Care Quality Award. Informal research around what it feels like to be a Carer at BGU uncovered that a coordinated approach was required in order to embed best practice across the University. Future goals include projects with Charity and Education Partners as part of a Carers Mentor initiative, Representative at Regional conference, writing a research paper, compiling an evaluation report including a Carers Toolkit mapping the processors to ensure the longevity of this project.

Informing education through research

All of this work feeds back into BGU’s Health Care portfolio and its focus on the continued development of practitioner skills.

Health Care pathways at BGU include:

FdA Health and Social Care Practitioner

BSc Health and Social Care

MA Health & Social Care Leadership

MSc Primary and Community Care

PG Certificate General Practice Nursing

For the full portfolio visit our website, book onto one of our Open Events or speak to a member of our Enquiries Team.