A nurse has entered a landmark partnership with doctors in a busy GP practice in the Braes.
Paul Leishman’s appointment will see him taking decisions alongside the GPs on the day-to-day running, as well as managing patient care.
When he saw the opportunity to join Dr Catherine Whitelaw and Partners, who operate out of Meadowbank Health Centre in Polmont, he applied.
The appointment of an advanced nurse practitioner as the newest partner is believed to be a first in Forth Valley and Paul joins only a handful of others across Scotland.
Paul, who moved to the practice from Kersiebank Medical Practice in Grangemouth, said he jumped at the chance to apply for the post when he saw it advertised with a view to a potential partnership.
He said: “This was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. The biggest challenge was thinking 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 Sauchie and Bonnybridge Hospitals and A&E at Stirling Royal Infirmary. He also worked latterly for eight years as an advanced nurse practitioner with the Hospital at Night team before moving to Kersiebank.
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 nurse 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.
Dr Sydney said: “I think it brings a different perspective to the practice and Paul has lots of experience in secondary care and is very good at triaging patients, with 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 added: “I am sure there will be more partnership opportunities for advanced nurse practitioners in 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.”