Nurse Vocational Training Scheme (VTS)

The Primary Care Nurse Training & Preceptorship Programme is a 1-year Vocational Training Scheme delivered by South Yorkshire Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub.

It builds on the success of the previous GPN Ready Scheme. It is a post-qualification GP Nurse preceptorship aimed at newly qualified nurses and new-to-primary-care nurses who want to have a career in General Practice.

Read the latest report: Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) for nurses new to general practice
for the October 2022 to September 2023 cohort.

Read the independent evaluation: Evaluation of the South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw (SY&B) General Practice Nurse Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) published by Dr Robin Lewis PhD, Sheffield Hallam University in April 2022.

NHSE 2024 Funding for the VTS Fellowship Preceptorship Programme

The NHSE funding to develop and deliver the VTS Fellowship Preceptorship Programme for new practice nurses is being stopped at the end of March 2024.
Any nurse currently on the VTS programme will be able to continue to complete it.
The Training Hub is working with partners to try to find a funding solution to enable us to continue to run the VTS programme in the future. However, at present, there is only one more cohort planned, which will start in March 2024.
Only nurses and NAs who are already employed in General Practice will be eligible to access this training programme.
Please click below to register your interest in the March 2024 VTS cohort.

Register interest for March 2024 Cohort

How the VTS programme works

Nurses are recruited through lead place-based Federation/CCG employers and placed on two 6-month rotations in practices across Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley.

The preceptorship programme can also be accessed by practices across SY who have recently recruited new-to-GP nurses. These nurses will remain in their employed practice for the whole year and access the training on the programme.

Primary care-specific clinical nursing and organisational skills plus pastoral and mentoring support is delivered by the clinical team at the SY Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub.

Why the VTS programme was developed

There are increasing numbers of newly qualified nurses considering General Practice Nursing careers, but they do not come out of training with the skill set and attributes required of a GPN.

They require significant preceptorship and in-practice supervision to develop, which many practices do not have the training capacity to offer.

The South Yorkshire Primary Care VTS programme provides relevant training for Practice Nurses in the first year of their career. There is then the option to continue for a second year which will provide clinical supervision and “softer skills” training.

What is the structure of the VTS programme?

The Programme focuses on four key domains:

  • Clinical Competency
  • Landscape of General Practice
  • Communication and Consultation Skills
  • Professional Behaviours and Reflective Practice

What is does the course content include?

Examples of content:

  • Consultation skills
  • Phlebotomy
  • Vaccinations and Immunisations
  • Motivational interviewing and Health Promotion
  • Basic Life Support
  • Cervical Cytology
  • Wound Care
  • Ear Care
  • Basic Contraception and Sexual Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Travel Health
  • Quality & Outcome Frameworks
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Health Inequalities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Health in Primary Care
  • Quality Improvement/ Audit Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Patient Centred Care
  • Mentorship & Supervision

How do I apply?

Route 1 – not already employed in GP

  • 1-year fixed term (Band 5 equivalent) contract programme, 2 placements across the place area you apply to; Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham or Sheffield.
  • VTS programme launch dates are usually May and October.
  • Recruitment takes place 3 months before the launch date.

Route 2 – newly employed in GP

  • If you are new to practice nursing and already employed in practice you can access the programme directly.
  • VTS programme launch dates are usually May and October.
  • Recruitment takes place 3 months before the launch date.

To submit an expression of interest in the VTS programme, please complete the EOI form

How can I make my application stand out?

We are always being asked how potential applicants can make their applications stand out and what we are looking for during the selection process.

We are looking for nurses with a good understanding of what working in General Practice is all about, so research the role and look for the characteristics that you think a GPN would need…why would you be good in this role?

If you have previous experience in Primary Care then mention this in your application, but even if you don’t then look at the experience that you do have and think about how this relates to the Primary Care environment. Make sure that you also know about current issues and developments in Primary Care and what changes are affecting practice nurses.

Above all, you need to demonstrate a clear passion for the job; what drives you to want to be a GPN?

Finally- please proofread your application and make sure that it is grammatically correct; GPNs need to be great communicators and nothing will let your application down more than a poorly constructed personal statement!

How would I be employed and what would my salary be?

With a system funded place, nurses are employed on a 1-year, fixed term training contract (equivalent to AFC Band 5.)

There is no variation on this according to current salary banding/ experience.

Will I be guaranteed a job at the end of the programme?

On completion of the programme, nurses will have the necessary clinical skills and experience to apply for Practice Nurse jobs in General Practice.

Although we cannot guarantee a job at the end of the programme, there will be further support from the SY Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub to match nurses to practice roles across South Yorkshire and ongoing support to progress further into specialist disease area management, prescribing and Advanced Clinical Practice.

Is this a full-time programme? What hours will I be expected to work?

The nurse training programme is full time; trainees are expected to work for 37.5 hours per week over a one-year period.

System funded places will be full time posts, but those already employed in practice can access as a part time GPN.

For system funded places, working hours are split between training and time spent on rotation in GP practices.

Initially this will be 1-2 days training per week with remaining hours spent on consolidating learning in practice. Training days will become less frequent as the programme progresses, with more emphasis placed on consolidation of learning in practice.

Working hours are usually core business hours (e.g. 9am-5pm) but there may be flexibility within this according to individual rotation practices (e.g. 8am-4pm) which can be negotiated between nurses and practice teams, as long as core hours for the training programme are met.

Nurses must have the flexibility to work unsocial hours if required (as specified in the Job Description.)

Where will I work?

Nurses on the Primary Care Training Programme work on two 6-month rotations in a wide variety of locations across South Yorkshire.

Rotations are organised in practices that can provide mentorship/ preceptor support and practices are assessed for suitability by the SY Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub.

Nurses will be accommodated in their preferred place area.

What does the training programme look like? Are there exams and assignments?

Training takes place over a 1-year period and will consist of regular full-day sessions out of practice (update: to comply with social distancing measures, it may be necessary to deliver some training sessions online.)

In addition, nurse trainees have protected time to reflect on their learning and practice, attend peer learning sessions and take part in action learning sets.

The majority of the training is delivered by the experienced Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub clinical team and some is bought in from HEI/ other providers.

Training provided offers front-loaded clinical skills (e.g. ear syringing, venepuncture, smear-taking, baby vaccinations,) so that learners can bring practical skills to their work in practice on rotation while they consolidate the other aspects of their learning.

Training also consists of regular peer review and action learning sets to encourage reflective practice. Skills are assessed in practice or by an external trainer (e.g. Cytology) – there are currently no formal exams or assignments.

Who delivers the training?

Primary care-specific clinical nursing and organisational skills plus pastoral and mentoring support is delivered by the clinical team at the SY Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub.

We have a fantastic team of experienced General Practice nurse educators managed by Nurse Lead Emma Thompson and training is almost entirely nurse led.

Some training is bought in from specialist partners (e.g. Rotherham Ear Care, Wakefield NEPSEC.)

What support can I expect to have on the Training Programme?

Mentoring and support is provided both by the clinical team on rotations and by the Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub clinical team.

It is also provided through key Federation Nurse leads in Place areas across SY and through peer support from the cohort of trainee GP nurses.

Do I need to have experience in General Practice to apply for this Training Programme?

You need no previous experience of General Practice to apply, but you should be able to demonstrate an interest and an understanding of working in Primary Care.

I am a new-to-Primary-Care nurse and I have just been employed at a GP surgery in South Yorkshire. Can I apply for a place on the training programme?

The Training Hub also wish to support practices who recruit newly qualified nurses/ nurses new to primary care. If you have very recently been employed by a GP surgery within the SY area (within the past year) you may be eligible for a place on the training programme.

You need not go through the application process, as your salary is paid by your practice employer.

Your practice will be required to release you for all training days in the 12-month programme (training grant paid by the Training Hub as a contribution to costs for training days out of practice.)

If you and your practice are interested in this then please complete the EOI form

I am a practice manager who is interested in recruiting a newly qualified nurse. Can they apply for a place on the programme?

We are happy to support practices who wish to employ their own newly qualified/ new-to-primary care nurse and we can offer a place on our training programme at no cost to organisations as long as they meet the following criteria:

the nurse must be newly qualified/ new-to-primary care and recently employed to post (within the past year)

the nurse must be able to start the training programme in October 2022

the practice must agree to release the nurse for all training sessions on the programme.

To express your interest, please complete this form.

I am a registered nurse working in an acute/ community setting. Can I apply for a place on the training programme?

As pay for the Nurse Training Programme is capped at AFC Band 5 equivalent (with no variation according to current banding/ experience) then it may not be financially viable for nurses with 5+ years of experience to apply.

The majority of our applications are therefore from nurses who are newly qualified or less than 5 years post-qualification. However we recognise that some nurses are willing to take a temporary reduction in salary for the opportunity to re-train as a General Practice Nurse, so we welcome applications from all registered nurses who have a passion for working in primary care in South Yorkshire.

Hosting a Primary Care VTS Nurse

Nurses on the Primary Care Training Programme work on two 6-month rotations in a wide variety of locations across South Yorkshire.

Rotations are organised in practices that can provide mentorship/ preceptor support and practices are assessed for suitability by the SY Primary Care Workforce and Training Hub.

If you wish to host a nurse on one of the 6-month rotations please contact us to express your interest.

Host a VTS Nurse

Our 1-year Primary Care Nurse Training Programme won the award for Preceptorship of the Year 2021 (under 1,500 Nursing staff) in the Nursing Times Workforce Summit Awards.

Our 1-year Primary Care Nurse Training Programme was awarded the National Preceptorship Interim Quality Mark in January 2024.