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General Practice nursing is building up at the frontline



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9 November, 2012

General Practice nursing is building up at the frontline

There is an increasing trend across general practices to employ nurses and to expand primary health care opportunities, according to the latest 2012 General Practice Nurse National Survey Report commissioned by AML Alliance and conducted by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute has built on the work previously undertaken by the General Practice Network.

AML Alliance Chair, Dr Arn Sprogis said that this survey remains the only comprehensive survey of its type and confirms the valuable place that the nursing profession has in general practice.

“Since the first survey in 2003, not only have the numbers of nurses working in general practice increased from 2,400 to more than 10,500, the percentage of practices employing a nurse has increased from just over 40% to 63%,” Dr Sprogis said.

“Almost 90% of sampled practices report being registered for the Practice Nurse Incentive Payment (PNIP) with 16% of these indicating they were employing or intended to employ more nurses, indicating that the trend of increased numbers of nurses working in the area will continue,” Dr Sprogis said.

“The survey, which highlights the range of activities undertaken by General Practice Nurses and the skills they have, contributes to the planning tools needed by Medicare Locals for workforce and health care planning,” Dr Sprogis said.

Among the key findings:  35% of nurses in this survey reported additional qualifications as an immunisation nurse compared to: o 31% in 2009 o 27% in 2007

o 9% in 2003.

 In 2009 9% of nurses reported having post graduate qualifications as a women’s health nurse, and this has risen to 15% in 2012.

“The survey also confirms that nurses’ contribution goes beyond clinical care and encompasses quality assurance, management of risk, increasing access for patients through triage and supporting GPs in the management of chronic disease,” Dr Sprogis said.

“These activities not only support better patient care, they add value allowing the general practice team to provide a more connected patient-focused service” said Dr Arn Sprogis.