First 24 community entrepreneurs start unique development programme


The first 24 community nurse and allied health professionals to undertake the new year-long ‘Nurse First’ programme have started their initial three day workshop.

The programme, developed and delivered jointly between The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Buckinghamshire New University and the Shaftesbury Partnership, mirrors the very successful ‘Teach First’ programme which produces top leaders in schools.

It consists of seven three-day workshops, held at Buckinghamshire New University’s Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, during which participants will each develop an innovative project from idea to reality.

The programme is funded by Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust and equips participants with a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Innovation - the first of its kind in the country.

The aim is to have new services or approaches funded, and up and running, by the end of the programme. Participants will learn business and finance skills, and practise presentation and negotiation, as part of the course. They will carry out ‘cross fertilisation’ field exercises within and outside the NHS, and they will have access to a range of successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

Dave Dawes, who manages the programme for the Shaftesbury Partnership, said: "This is a very exciting programme which we hope will change the way we think about clinical innovation in the community. We have looked at social innovation programmes from around the world and think that this programme is unique and will create a new movement of social innovators in health."

The first cohort on the programme consists of 22 nurses and two Allied Health Professionals, who were chosen following a nationwide programme of interviews.

"We are all very excited about the potential of this very enthusiastic and passionate group of people”, said Rosemary Cook, Director of the QNI. “The programme will invest in them as individuals and as health professionals, and ultimately will improve services for patients. I think it will be a challenging year for all of us, but we will be keeping our eyes on that prize."

Agnes Fanning, Departmental Manager for Primary Care and Public Health at Bucks New University, said: “The Faculty of Society & Health is working at the forefront of Community Nurse Education; and our ethos is to promote innovation and creativity in practice, whilst inspiring and empowering  communities to find sustainable solutions to their health care challenges."

"'Nurse First’ will build on this philosophy to enable those Community Health Practitioners joining this programme to develop the skills of social entrepreneurship and to enhance their existing practice to enable real change and high level impact on the communities they serve."

"I am really looking forward to being the University Lead for this programme and to assisting community practitioners to reach their full potential in the field of social entrepreneurial potential."

Sandra Bennett, a Sexual Health Nurse with Your Healthcare CIC in Kingston, Surrey, providing services to the local community, said ‘Nurse First’ should be ‘the future for the NHS'.

She said: “I feel so inspired and appreciated and feel that my creativity has finally been recognised. I feel this is what the NHS has been looking for and really should be the future of the organisation. It feels like we are on a launch pad for the future."

Jane Cook, a District Nurse in Bristol, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the first couple of days of the course and I feel completely inspired. Now I can’t wait to move on with the rest of the qualification."

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