So what’s a nurse practitioner?
The Nurse Practitioner role provides a new level of service to our community. It is designed to provide timely access to healthcare for all Australians.
Australian College of Nurse Practitioners
The first two Australian NPs were authorised in New South Wales in 2000 and numbers have grown steadily. The 'Nurse Practitioner' title is protected by National law. The latest figures published by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) reveal there are 2100 NPs endorsed throughout Australia. Australian NPs practise in diverse settings and speciality areas, ranging from emergency departments (30%) to general practice environments (8%), with the majority (71%) working solely for the public sector.
There are four core activities which define the advanced, extended and collaborative role of NPs in Australia:
- Advanced knowledge, skills and expertise in diagnostic assessment and reasoning
- The ability to independently prescribe medicines
- The ability to independently request and interpret diagnostic tests (pathology, imaging studies, etc)
- The ability to independently refer to medical specialists
What kind of NP are you?
I provide healthcare for the episodic minor complaint, as well as ongoing care for complex healthcare needs which require time, individualised care and expert attention.
I am authorised to provide care for clients of all ages, including:
Preventative healthcare, such as:
- Action plans for chronic conditions
- General wellness checks
- Skin checks
- Sexual health
- Pre-employment physical assessments
- Smoking cessation counselling and treatment
- Assistance with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Nutrition and exercise support
- HIV PrEP Prescriber
Minor illnesses and injuries, such as:
- Coughs, colds and infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract
- Sprains, strains and minor breaks
- Rashes, abrasions, and minor lacerations
Chronic disease and case management for conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease (blood pressure, heart disease, cholesterol, etc)
- Lung disease (asthma, emphysema, etc)
- Joint and muscle conditions (arthritis, osteoporosis, etc)
- Mental health issues (depression, anxiety, etc.)
- HIV S100 Prescriber
Minor procedures, such as:
- Spirometry, ECGs and 24 Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
- Skin lesion biopsy and excision
- Laceration repairs
- Implanon insertion and removal
- Miscellaneous procedures (toenail removal, abscess drainage, cryotherapy for warts, etc)
The type of care I provide as an NP focuses on person-centred, holisitic health and wellbeing approaches. Although I can treat your illness, I’d rather prevent it in the first instance.
Chris Helms, Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner
What can’t you do?
- Signing workers' compensation forms
- Signing driver’s licence medicals
- Approval of formal “GP Chronic Disease” or “Mental Health Management Plans” that result in patient subsidies
Do the above restrictions sound ridiculous? We think so too!
These restrictions result in duplication of care and increasing healthcare expenditures. If you’d like to find out how to lobby your local member in order to advocate for NPs so we can provide these services, please contact us.