In what is seen as a key breakthrough for the nursing profession, the latest partnership at Dr Whitelaw and Partners within Meadowbank Health Centre in Polmont has been taken up by an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. The appointment of Paul Leishman is believed to be the first of its kind in Forth Valley, and one of only a few in Scotland as a whole.
Paul, who moved to the Practice from Kersiebank Medical Practice in September 2016, said he jumped at the chance to apply for the post when he saw it advertised with a view to a potential partnership. “This was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down” he explained, “The biggest challenge was thinking wow, is this for real, a nurse getting involved in ground-floor decision making”.
Paul has been nursing for almost 30 years. His career includes posts at the former Sauchie and Bonnybridge Hospitals, A & E Department at Stirling Royal Infirmary, and eight years as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner with the Hospital at Night team before moving to Kersiebank Medical Practice in Grangemouth.
“I think a partnership like this gives you a voice” he said, “I am not only involved in managing the care of patients but I am also involved in the day-to-day running of the Practice as well as all other aspects”.
Dr Whitelaw’s Practice, with 11,500 patients, is one of the largest in Forth Valley. Dr Ronnie Sydney said the partners had discussed the possibility of appointing an Advanced Nursed Practitioner as a partner due to changes in the way GP practices are being run. With a shortage of GPs, they recognised that greater nurse involvement was going to be needed and felt recruiting an experienced Advanced Nurse Practitioner would help them develop local services.
Dr Sydney explained “I think it brings a different perspective to the Practice. Paul has lots of experience in secondary care, is very good at triaging patients and has lots of skills in prioritising patient needs. I think it’s good to be part of something and have the opportunity to help make changes which benefit people locally”.
Paul now believes he has reached the pinnacle of his career and says he is likely to stay at the Meadowbank Practice for the rest of his working life. He said, “This will be me until I retire. It’s something to aim for and a fantastic feather in nursing’s cap. I am sure there will be more partnership opportunities for Advanced Nurse Practitioners in the future and my appointment is an example of how far you can go as a nurse. Nursing truly is an aspirational career, anything is achievable, and if you have a goal, then reach for it”.