How to set up an Admiral Nurse service

Dementia UK works in partnership to set up Admiral Nurse Services. These partnerships are unique and symbiotic; a host organisation employs the Admiral Nurse and, in return, Dementia UK provides ongoing support both to the host, in terms of account management, and to the Admiral Nurse, through clinical support, practice and professional development, and assistance with service evaluation. Dementia UK has systemised the way we develop new Admiral Nurse services through what we call our Common Business Process (CBP).

The Common Business Process

The CBP provides a clear development pathway, ensures best practice and quality control, reduces risk, and enables close collaboration and coordination of work streams amongst the many teams within Dementia UK.

Stage 1: Investigation

This is the first stage of service/project development where a Business Development Officer (BDO) will hold initial meetings with stakeholders to research and conduct a gap analysis, gauging the potential of a new service/ project – especially around sustainability and risk. The BDO will work with a Consultant Admiral Nurse and the potential host organisation to identify and define need and begin discussions around potential service design, such as suggested number and banding of nurses, where they may be placed, and potential service beneficiaries.

Stage 2: Development

The BDO works with the host organisation to flesh out the details of the new service; identifying funding streams, agreeing business fees, processing Dementia UK service documents such as job descriptions and the service specification, and bringing key colleagues from Dementia UK to provide clinical or service evaluation advice. The BDO then completes and submits the service proposal to Dementia UK’s Senior Management Team (SMT) for review, quality control, and final approval for the new service to be developed.

Stage 3: Finalisation and recruitment

At this stage, the Service Collaboration Agreement is finalised and support fees agreed. Signatures will need to take place before the recruitment process begins. Once final approval is received, the recruitment process can begin. The BDO and host shortlist and interview together, along with clinical support from Dementia UK.

Stage 4: Induction

Once nurses have been successfully appointed, they receive an Admiral Nurse induction and are placed within a Practice and Professional Development Group, where they will receive monthly clinical supervision and continued professional development. In addition, the new nurses will have access to a Senior Consultant Admiral Nurse (SCAN) or a Consultant Admiral Nurse (CAN) who will provide additional clinical support to help embed new practice and set up the service. They will receive ongoing support from a nominated Service Evaluator.

Stage 5: Fully operational

Once the new Admiral Nurse service is operational, the BDO role switches from one focussed on initial development and implementation into one that emphasises relationship management and ongoing service improvement. The BDO does this through regular communication and steering groups, which occur within the first three months of service and continue every three to six months thereafter.

Nurses will continue to receive support and clinical supervision through their Practice and Professional Development Group, supported by a dedicated Practice Development Facilitator. All Admiral Nurses will have an allocated Pebblepad account: a web based system that will support them with continued professional development and nursing re-validation. Dementia UK encourages each host organisation to support the Admiral Nurses to take part in research, write appropriate publications and deliver papers at key conferences. All Admiral Nurses will be encouraged to enrol onto a specialist advanced practitioner post-graduation course within their first year, and Dementia UK will cover the costs.