The GM universities have a strong relationship and history of collaboration. Since 2009, GM Hospital Trusts, the four universities and Health Education England have worked together as the Greater Manchester Practice Education Group (GMPEG) to operationalise the practice component of the undergraduate nursing programme.
Influenced by evidence from the 2012 Willis Commission on the future of nursing education, and their own practice, the team identified coaching as an effective model for student nurse support in practice. The coaching model advocated by Willis is the Collaborative Learning in Practice model (CLiP).
Subsequently in this context, a team was formed to develop a new and innovative GMCA model of support for student nurses in clinical practice. Working together, they developed a bespoke GM Synergy Model for student support in practice placements that is based upon coaching ideologies with an emphasis on delivering patient-centred care, promoting student nurse clinical leadership development and peer learning.
The steering team comprises of senior leaders operating from within the multiple GM universities and healthcare organisations, with the team leader Lisa Littlewood situated in the University of Salford. Dr Jacqueline Leigh, led the team to create the application and to develop the strategies to evidence the educational improvement.
Impact of work
In September 2017 GM Synergy rolled out across 13 diverse practice areas in the following GM Hospital Trusts: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Care Alliance and Manchester University Foundation Trust.The team has broken down the silos and organisational boundaries that in the past would have prevented the success and sustainability of the project. For example, Practice Education Facilitator Champions in each healthcare organisation are utilising GM standardised resources to seamlessly convert student practice placements into GM Synergy placement areas, which has significantly increased student nurse placement capacity.
Plans for the future
Impressively, the cumulative student nurse placement capacity on these placements has increased from 63 to 168. The team are contributing towards national strategy to place the extra 10,000 student health-professional workforce by 2020. So far, not only have they increased placement capacity but have clear evidence of value and reach on students' clinical leadership development and peer learning.