You have recently attended the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) conference as the peak professional body for nurses working in primary health care and learned so much whilst connecting with other nurses from various primary health settings. You feel empowered and inspired to be the best nurse you can be and incorporate your learning immediately. You keep thinking about the fact that Australia has a highly qualified and skilled nursing and midwifery workforce which seems to be largely under-utilised and wonder what you can do in relation to the establishment of a nurse led clinic.
The establishment of nurse led clinics is expanding in Australia, however, it is occurring slowly and tends to be linked to where there are service gaps due to high demand and/or workforce shortages rather than as part of a broader health care strategy. This is despite a growing volume of research indicating that nurse-led clinics have been shown to improve patients’ outcomes and facilitate timely access to specialist services.
The following benefits have been demonstrated:
• For patients: patients have a shorter wait for their specialist outpatients’ appointments and have high levels of satisfaction with the care they receive in nurse-led clinics. This model of care can also facilitate earlier discharge of patients back to General Practice services.
• For nursing staff: Increased job satisfaction potentially resulting in increased recruitment and retention due to advanced role.
• For medical staff: Medical staff can concentrate on more complex patients.
• For the hospital: Nurse-led clinics increase the efficiency of clinics, are cost effective and reduce waiting time in outpatients.
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