Using Agenda for Change and the Knowledge and Skills Framework to develop a Preceptorship Programme for Newly Qualified Professionals East Kent Hospitals Trust is a large acute hospital Trust with 3 main hospital sites and a number of satellite sites across Kent. The Trust recruits over 150 newly qualified professional staff each year. Since 2002, within Adult nursing, newly qualified staff have accessed a Trust wide Preceptorship programme run by the Practice Placement Facilitator (PPF) which met NMC minimum requirements at that time (Ref). The 3 generic study days, practical support provided by the Nurse Practice development team and pack of information in this 4 month programme was positively evaluated by participants and managers. The supportive and practical training and education were felt to benefit the participants and consequently the patients in their care. In 2004/05, parity of education provision and a desire to standardise roles within nursing led to the creation of draft grade specific development programmes. At that time the Trust was developing KSF outlines and policies and procedures linked to Agenda for change. In particular there was a requirement for clear Foundation gateway outcomes, second gateway outcomes, a 12 month Preceptorship period for newly qualified professionals and robust mechanisms to apply accelerated pay progression in the first year. The Assistant Director of HR brought all professional education leads together to share their respective Preceptorship, induction and development programmes. Ideas from all programmes were utilised in developing profession specific Preceptorship programmes to meet Agenda for Change, KSF, profession specific and service requirements. In adult nursing once the Band 5 KSF outline was developed in 2005, the D grade development programme outcomes were further developed to ensure they mapped directly to the Foundation gateway requirements for a Band 5 nurse. Consequently, the existing Preceptorship programme and developing D grade programme were merged to form a 12 month Preceptorship programme. This consisted of 8 study days and a pack which incorporated appraisal documents, a generic development pathway and reflective activities; all of which were mapped and related to the KSF outline for Band 5 Adult nurses. Training was provided for staff acting as preceptors for the newly qualified nurses and information on the availability of additional support from the new Clinical support nurse posts and the existing Practice Placement Facilitator role made available. These individuals were identified as experts in relation to Preceptorship and application of policies related to Preceptorship, KSF and Agenda for Change. There are many positive outcomes from developing more robust Preceptorship Programmes linked to the KSF outlines for Band 5 professional posts within the Trust: - As there is a robust process for accelerated pay progression this means all eligible Band 5 professionals receive this incentive - Multi-professional study days developed individual practitioners understanding of different professional roles - The leads for education in different professional groups share expertise and provide support for one another - All newly qualified staff received a core of common generic training to meet service needs - The study days provide protected time in a forum that provides peer support and shared reflection on practice and policy which most newly qualified find invaluable - Newly qualified staff who require additional support or who may present a capability issue can be ‘measured’ against agreed outcomes - In adult nursing the additional practical support provided by the Clinical support nurse roles has retained and improved the practice of a number of newly qualified nurses - Centralised organisation has freed time up for managers / team leaders to engage in staff support or service delivery The success of the programmes is due to sustained Director level support, the identification of key individuals to lead the process in each professional group, a willingness to share and develop existing practices and recognition from practice staff of the benefits of investing in newly qualified staff. Going through this process highlighted gaps in communication networks of support staff. It, to some extent, disempowers managers as responsibility for staff development is centralised. Over time in adult nursing it has become apparent that some of what was initially considered generic training is no longer appropriate to meet service needs as newly qualified staff are recruited to non-traditional posts. In EKHT, there were many contributory factors which supported the development of these Preceptorship programmes: The availability of programmes on which to build, networks of support staff already in place and the early development of KSF outlines, appraisal systems, documentation and policies linked to Agenda for Change. Establishing effective implementation of the Preceptorship Programme requirements is not without threats. As recent service changes have been implemented within the Trust there has been a reduction in the availability of staff to organise and teach on study days, suitable training rooms have been lost, staff shortages potentially reduce release time for newly qualified and clinical pressures reduce time for clinical supervision and reflective activities in practice. Overcoming the threats remains a challenge but Trust and managers’ commitment to supporting newly qualified staff development remains high and in many areas additional programmes and competencies have been developed or are under development. The Preceptorship programme model used within EKHT could easily be transferred to other organisations by substituting organisation specific documentation e.g. KSF outlines, appraisal documents and Core organisational training requirements and providing staff training to meet the needs of newly qualified staff and Preceptorship. Future Development of the programme in adult nursing is to continue to run a centralised programme where all newly qualified are automatically booked onto a programme and provided with Preceptorship information and support. As of September 2007, the study day programme has been reduced to 3 core days with optional skills training days which managers are responsible for booking their newly qualified staff onto. It is anticipated that managers will continue to support Preceptorship in practice but will be able to ensure newly qualified staff attend training required for their specific role and timed appropriately for their development.