The hospice has developed the programme in response to the national shortage of nurses and the increasing demand for its services.
“In the last year or so we have begun to see the effects of the national shortage in nurses on our own recruitment and so we decided we must make a bold move to ensure we are prepared to meet future demand for our services,” explains director of nursing and clinical services Sue Varvel.
“This is a real departure for Rennie Grove because in over 30 years of caring we have always looked to recruit nurses with experience in either palliative care or community nursing.”
The Preceptorship programme, aimed at newly-qualified nurses, provides a year-long structured induction and training programme in providing specialist palliative care in patients’ homes.
During their year-long mentoring process, the nurses (or ‘preceptees’) will work as part of Rennie Grove’s 24/7 responsive service, providing care in patients’ homes.
Working alongside members of the charity’s experienced 90-strong nursing team, they will gain new skills and knowledge in end of life care in a community setting.
They will learn to recognise common symptoms and anticipate changes in a patient’s condition. And, under supervision, they will perform basic clinical procedures and assist with developing individualised care plans in conjunction with the patient and their family.
They will also work closely with other healthcare providers, such as GPs, consultants, district nurses and clinicians from other hospice charities.
Initially just two nurses will be taken on as part of a pilot project, but the charity hopes to be able to extend its offer in the future.