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Opportunities for Aspiring Nurse Practitioners in Australia

Photo: Opportunities for Aspiring Nurse Practitioners in Australia
The Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) launched the Transforming Health Care initiative in 2018 to provide valuable information to the public and the nursing sector on the role of the Nurse Practitioner (NP). 

The project has been funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. The aim of the project is to increase awareness of the value of NPs to the Australian health care system as a whole and individual communities more specifically.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A Nurse Practitioner is an endorsement for registered nurses under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority. NPs are focused on delivering effective and efficient services, improving access to a range of treatment and care plan options, providing cost-effective care, and targeting at-risk populations including aged care and indigenous populations in metropolitan, remote, and rural areas.
Educated to a Masters level, NPs work within a variety of clinical backgrounds and specialties. The NP scope of practice extends that of the traditional registered nurse role and includes authority to provide;

  • Advanced health and physical assessment
     
  • Diagnosis and treatment of health conditions
     
  • Designing and implementing therapeutic regimens for patients and carers
     
  • Initiating and receiving appropriate referrals from health professionals
     
  • Ordering and interpreting the most appropriate blood and radiology tests
     
  • Prescribing necessary medications
     
  • Health education relevant to each condition
     
  • Health promotion advice
     
  • Holistic health care support

Why do we need more NPs?

The NP has huge potential within the healthcare system to address the increasing demand for health services. This potential is not only apparent in rural and regional areas where the gap in availability of healthcare services is obvious, but also in metropolitan areas where waitlists are untenable. The delay in timely assessments, together with extended waiting times for appointments, necessitates a review of current conditions including medication management, care planning, ability to understand and adhere to management strategies; – all areas that can be addressed by expanding NP services.

Why become a Nurse Practitioner?

For a Registered Nurse looking to develop a career within the nursing model and underpinned by a nursing philosophy of care should consider becoming an endorsed NP as the opportunities are vast. 

By taking the next step to become a NP, you are making a positive impact in Australian health care.  You are not only utilising your advanced level of skill, knowledge and experience, but you’re also providing an opportunity for patients to benefit from holistic healthcare in your chosen scope. 

Once qualified, the NP scope of practice can provide many work opportunities in settings such as hospitals, private and public practice, primary care, aged care, rural and remote areas and more.  As an NP, you have the ability to take charge of your nursing career.

As an example of the positive contributions you can offer to the patient experience by becoming an NP are;

  • Access to highly educated and experienced health professional
     
  • Improvements in patient outcomes and health care
     
  • Fast tracking of patients to appropriate clinicians and clinical services
     
  • Focused care for at-risk communities, in rural, remote and metropolitan settings
     
  • Delivery of patient focused, holistic practice

To learn more about the career pathway to becoming a NP please visit www.transforminghealthcare.org.au

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