10 November 2014

Dear members,

Congratulations to all the parents who have survived this year’s round of the higher school certificate. My twins are in that group and are getting ready to move on to the next stage of their lives. I have to say I will not miss making school lunches. Just before we move on, and I don’t want to panic you, but it is only six weeks until Christmas!

By the time Christmas comes along, the APNA team will have more than earned a good rest. Over the past few weeks and into the next few months, the APNA hive of activity continues. APNA held the first meeting of the Expert Advisory Group for the development of an education and career framework. We have representatives from several universities, senior nurse project officers from two Medicare Locals in the ACT and South Australia, the Australia College of Nurse Practitioners, the ACN, ANMF, RACGP, AMA, Department of Health Workforce Innovation Branch and myself, backed up by Kathy Bell, Lynne Walker and the team from APNA. From this meeting APNA has developed a discussion paper and once all feedback is received we will move on the development phase with working groups to look at the structure of our career pathway.

Our discussion board on APNAnurses Connect is well and truly up and running. It’s great to see such dynamic discussion and resources being posted by members, particularly on the career framework. Your input as members is essential and I encourage you to log in to the forum on APNAnurses Connect (using your member number and password) and have your say. You will be pleased to know that several of the authors mentioned in the resources in the discussion forum are on our expert advisory group.

So far members have raised very important points that will help us identify not only issues affecting the day to day practice of nurses, but your discussion adds weight to the cases we make to further our cause. As discussed there are many dimensions to a career structure in general practice nursing. These will range from placing students, new graduates and nurses transitioning from hospital, to identifying the skills and qualifications of the current EN, RN and NP workforce, and how you fit or scale this into a recognisable, workable and progressive career framework that will acknowledge skill level and guide nurses to advanced levels if they so wish. It will be no easy feat and your discussion will help us along our development path.

Also, Bronwyn Morris-Donovan and I were very privileged to be invited to the CATSINaM Summit in Canberra last week where we examined issues related to culturally safe teaching in nursing curricula and workplaces. APNA and CATSINaM memberships have many overlaps working in the primary health care arena. Congratulations to the CATSINaM Board, Janine Mohammed and the team for facilitating such an open and dynamic two days of discussions. The summit was attended by key stakeholders, including the Australian Chief Nursing Officer, Ms Rosemary Bryant OAM. An expert advisory group will be formed to begin work on a Leaders in Indigenous Nursing and Midwifery Education Network (LINMEN). It is intended that this important work and its effect will flow on to improving nursing workforce participation and retention of nurses from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and ultimately improve care for our Indigenous patients.

In other news, Kidney Check Australia Taskforce (KCAT) under Kidney Health Australia is looking for an APNA nurse to participate on the Nurse Education Sub-Committee. If you have an interest in kidney health, or are participating in nurse-led CKD clinical work and feel you may be able to contribute to nurse education, review modules and guides, please send your details and a brief bio to admin@apna.asn.au and I will be in contact with you.

APNA has also been busy reviewing key government documents and making submissions on behalf of nurses in primary health care. APNA has recently made submissions on the Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy for Australia, After Hours Care and the combined submission to the Senate Select Committee on Health with ACN, ACMHN and CATSINaM. The GP Roundtable has also been busy. Julianne Badenoch and I represent APNA on this high level committee. The last news regarding Ebola can be found here. It has not been widely publicised, however Australia has put in place high level border control practices for screening persons travelling from West Africa as well as exit testing on patients leaving affected areas. Whilst there have been a few sensationalised media items relating to suspected cases in one state, all states are monitoring returning travellers and there has not been a person tested positive in Australia.

As I sign off my thoughts drift back to my opening sentence and wonder how many of you post HSC are thinking of ‘après’ schoolies and thinking of a well-deserved holiday for parents. Take care…

Karen

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