Paula Messenger

Nurse Advisor, Somerset LMC

Paula Messenger

Could you explain your role as a Nurse Advisor for Somerset LMC?

As Nurse Advisor for Somerset LMC I am responsible for supporting the development of General Practice Nursing, ensuring that practice nurses can obtain the necessary education and development to meet the needs of general practice. I combine this role with a clinical day in general practice.

I am involved in training and education working closely with Somerset GP Education trust and Somerset Training Hub, to ensure that the training and education meets the needs of Practice Nurses and reflects local and national objectives. I work with providers of further education, to ensure that education and development is available to support nurses moving into general practice, increasing their skills and developing new roles.

I provide clinical and professional leadership which ranges from working in an advisory capacity to nurses in general practice on issues pertaining to quality and safety. To answering queries from practice nurses, GPs and Practice Managers and offering one-to-one support or support to Practices where required.

I act as a positive role model for nurses in general practice through the demonstration of strong leadership skills, and identify areas of risk, facilitating the continuous improvement of nursing in general practice.

As Nurse Advisor I also provide professional and pastoral support to nurses and allied healthcare professionals.

My role allows me to attend professional nurse meetings, training and consultation events and the facilitation of Practice Nurse groups which is vital for networking in this rural county.

What made you get into general practice and nursing?

While undertaking my nurse training in London I was given a community placement which allowed me to work in both general practice and with the school nursing team. I loved the varied work and ability to build relationships with staff and patients. I saw that health promotion and patient self -management were key to managing chronic conditions and preventing many diseases and following the placement my aim was to eventually become a GPN.

I was excited to be taken on as a new GPN in 2003 by Cheddar Medical Centre and that is where my GPN career began.

What changes within general practice have been the most significant to you?

The most significant changes in general practice have been the development of extended nursing roles and the promotion of leadership in general practice nursing. Somerset LMC has given me the opportunity to take on a leadership role which I find very fulfilling and combined with a clinical day allows me to continue using my clinical skills.

Do you think the role of the nurse has changed in recent years?

The role of the nurse has changed vastly in recent years. The development of extended nursing roles such as Chronic Disease Specialist Nurses, Nurse Prescribers and Advanced Nurse Practitioners have not only helped support General Practitioners but also allowed nurses to develop skills and work at a high level.

More recently the introduction of the Nursing Associate role is an exciting addition to the nursing workforce and the increase of Allied Healthcare Professionals are key to the longevity of general practice.

Leadership roles have developed and Somerset LMC have provided me with a great opportunity to develop the needs of general practice nursing.

What do you like about living and working in Somerset?

Since moving to Somerset approximately 23 years ago I have found the people to be very friendly. The beautiful scenery and great outdoor activities are great for families. I am biased towards the Mendips and Wells which is my home!

Working in a rural county has it’s challenges when you are stuck behind a tractor however on the bright side it allows you a few moments to see the beauty of the landscape. It is a great place to work.

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