Q&A: Life on ProCare's general practice training programme


Q&A: Life on ProCare's general practice training programme

2 minutes to Read
Brittany Cuthbert

This year, ProCare launched a bespoke, free training programme to help working registered nurses transition into roles with general practice. This programme was developed as a direct response to the country’s nursing shortage within general practice and has been extremely well received. Brittany Cuthbert, a trainee nurse with ProCare’s General Practice Nurse Training Programme, started her programme at Stoddard Rd Medical Centre. In this Q&A she talks about her experiences on the programme

Kia ora Brittany! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Kia ora. I trained as a nurse in Canada, and have worked in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since I’ve been a new grad; nearly four years. I was previously working at Starship NICU.

I arrived in New Zealand on 1 March 2020, a few weeks before we went into our first lockdown. So basically my entire experience of New Zealand has revolved around Covid!

Brittany Cuthbert joined ProCare’s General Practice Nurse Training Programme after working in neonatal intensive care

What made you look into general practice nursing?

I decided to look into general practice nursing because I was wanting a break from the intensity of ICU nursing.

Every job has its own set of challenges. I also wanted to broaden my scope of practice, as NICU is an extremely specific patient population, and I felt that I had the potential to enjoy other areas of nursing that I knew nothing about.

I found the training programme directly through Jess Heron (ProCare Senior Recruitment Advisor). I had applied for a position with ProCare (Jess was doing recruiting for practices in need) and Jess got in touch with me about the new programme, and suggested that I apply.

My first day of the programme was the day that New Zealand’s Level Four lockdown was announced! It escalated really quickly. We heard about the single community case, and immediately we all started wearing masks, and then the Ministry of Health initially asked practices to cancel our vaccine appointments. At that point, we all knew lockdown was coming.

I think I definitely have an altered view of what general practice looks like on a “regular” day – primarily it’s been Covid related management of the patients. It feels really good to be able to contribute to the healthcare needs of the pandemic. NICU was low risk for being exposed to Covid, and I really had no idea what frontline work would look like, which felt a bit weird as a nurse.

Can you describe a bit of what it’s been like starting in the middle of lockdown? What kind of tasks have you been part of? What’s been hard and what’s been wonderful?

I have felt so welcomed at my practice placement. I really feel appreciated and valued as a nurse during this transition into primary care.

It has been a very big learning curve, coming from such a specific area, and so I appreciate the time that my colleagues take to teach and orientate me. The staff at Stoddard work as a team really effectively.

Jess, Kelly and the team at ProCare were also a great support, especially with launching into lockdown on the same day the programme started! They have worked hard with the practices and trainees to still provide support to both, adapting the training requirements to maintain the integrity of the programme through a lockdown.

I think that being an extra body at the practice has been useful to Stoddard during these times. We have gone through days of such high volumes of Covid swabbing, which can be quite exhausting, and requires working swabbing shifts. An additional nurse is needed to manage the front door, with patients and people from the community coming and asking questions, arriving for appointments, etc.

Basically, the day revolves around PPE (personal protective equipment)!

I look forward to the days that will be less consumed with Covid, but for right now, it’s what we have to do.