NAHP Council Communities of Practice Update

21 July 2021

Frazer Underwood is Deputy Chair of the Nurses and AHPs Council and an Associate Clinical Professor and Consultant Nurse in Integrated Services for Older People at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Plymouth.

In April and May, we completed our first events, pulling in Nurse and Allied Health Professional colleagues from across the four nations to our new Communities of Practice.

The NAHP Council has created three communities of practice: for future leaders,  researchers and for advanced clinical practitioners. Each community has a ‘Faculty Team’ made up of Council members that coordinate their community’s online events and ongoing engagement activities.

The aims of these communities are:

  • To offer inclusive peer support, sharing of best practice and professional development opportunities to Council members.
  • To raise the Nurse and AHP professional voice within the BGS and beyond.

There is a strong history to communities of practice and some evidence on their positive impact.

In this blog we will provide insights into what went on in these first events and share with you our plan for the future. A faculty member from each community has provided a brief synopsis:

Research Community of Practice

Our first meeting used Padlett to capture feedback from facilitator-hosted breakout rooms. Exploring research ‘headaches’, ‘highlights’ and ‘horizons’ we came back to a large group to draw some common themes together. Common headaches included local support, getting started with research and navigating those first steps. It was great to hear colleagues’ successes and achievements worthy of greater sharing and celebration. We felt opportunities for the new community include helping to better describe and support the development of clinical academic pathways and using the group to network and build research collaborations and support each other in writing for publication.

Dr Frazer Underwood (Faculty Member)

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Community of Practice

Jacqueline Thompson, Faculty Member from Scotland, reflects on co-facilitating the first ACP Community event:

“The British Geriatrics Society Nurse and AHP Council has been a wonderful source of connections, inspiration, and support for me whilst working in a role which, by its very design, can at times feel quite isolating. I am also grateful that the pandemic has accelerated BGS Council meetings away from my acoustically challenging clinical conference phone calls to the digital wonders of Zoom, Padlett and virtual breakout rooms.

Our faculty-supported breakout sessions allowed each member and a small number of attendees to facilitate discussions about what was going well, where they were challenged and what would they like to see from our Community moving forward.

The collective themes from the groups were comfortingly similar; on the one hand it was wonderful to hear from ACPs working in diverse settings for older people and their enthusiasm to make a difference every day for older people in their care. Yet the other side of the coin was the significant challenges they face, such as- role identity as an ACP. Further frustrations reside in obtaining equitable study leave and funding for Masters level study.

Our COP’s first solution is simply to continue meeting and hold these discussions, as there is strength alone in sharing and discussing the challenges and issues faced by ACPs. Then together we can collectively address such complex and challenging issues for our ACPs.

Future Leaders Community of Practice

Like other communities, this includes over thirty Council members representing a wide range of professionals across a variety of clinical settings and geography. So it is a great starting place to build on our peer-centred learning ambitions.

The first session started with faculty members introducing themselves with a synopsis of their very individual leadership journey.  Community members will have noted that a common theme was that none followed any prescribed or predictable career or structured development pathway.  They often featured some planning, academic development, serendipity, and the courage to diversify and to take risks. Participants highlighted several areas of interest to focus on in the future. The next two events will start to look at career-building and quality improvement. They will comprise expert guest presentations, discussions, and pointers for ongoing development.

Dr Gwyn Grout (Faculty Member)

Looking to the future

Many colleagues across the Council have asked if the Communities of Practice are now closed following the communication in February and March and if the opportunity to join in has gone, or if they are still open for others to join. Lucy Lewis, Chair of the NAHP Council confirmed in the May newsletter to Council members that they will become open membership groups, if colleagues are committed to participate and actively contribute to strengthening the new Communities. Details on how to sign up to join are available on the Council members’ website page (NB: You will need to be logged in).

There are dates being co-ordinated now for future events and the following diary schedule has been agreed to host the online meetings:

  • Week of Autumn meeting 24-26 November 2021
  • W/C 24th January 2022
  • Week of Spring meeting 6-8 April 2022
  • W/C 20th June 2022
  • Week of Autumn meeting 16-18 November 2022
Networking outside hosted events

Each Community of Practice will be launching their online engagement plans at the next online events, hosted on the British Geriatrics Society’s Forum, via your account log-in. Hopefully you have found this a useful update on the three communities’ activities and hopefully, if not already, you will find a community to get involved with.


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