6 July 2015

Dear members, friends and colleagues,

APNA has achieved a significant win on behalf of our members, showing great recognition for the work you do for communities around Australia. APNA has been granted a contract to deliver the Nursing in Primary Health Care Program to 2018.

In making the announcement on Friday, the Government has focused on the outcomes of this program on people living in rural and remote areas, through the support of nurses in their communities.

The program will centre on enhanced nurse knowledge, skills and capabilities in chronic disease prevention and management, and in supporting healthy ageing in the community. The aim is to increase the contribution primary health care nurses can make to care for the chronically ill and elderly, delivering better and more cost-effective patient care, and reducing the burden on hospitals and the aged care system.

It will also be achieved through workforce sustainability. The program will focus on workforce recruitment and retention, to ensure Australia has an adequate supply of primary health care nurses to meet demand, and that general practice and other employers are supported to employ nurses and optimise their use. Our workforce sustainability program will be enhanced by the development of a transition to practice pilot to encourage new graduates to primary health care. Patients will benefit from good access to cost-effective care, and support for coordination delivered, as the Minister describes, by “having nurses in the right place at the right time”.

Effective primary health care can help keep people well and out of hospital and aged care. The challenge we face right now is to ensure our primary health care system can meet the challenges of ever-increasing demand, whilst maintaining affordability and quality.

Thrilled as we are, heads are already down and planning is underway. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Kind regards,


Where is the nurse?

You might have seen an ad on peak time TV over the last week demonstrating a GP’s lifelong relationship with a family. It is the first of several to be rolled out as part of a community awareness campaign investment by the RACGP.

Who can help the warm and fuzzy feeling you get as the generational cycles progress and child becomes adult?

I congratulate our GP colleagues on celebrating their profession but the campaign, naturally given it is funded and driven by the RACGP, is singularly GP-centric and has elicited a mixed bag of responses. It does portray a nice, somewhat sanitised story, but for me it is an unfortunate lost opportunity to acknowledge the collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to general practice. Where is the nurse? Where is the whole team that makes up contemporary general practice that the health of multicultural Australia is so dependent on today?

For me what this campaign does identify is the pursuit of ongoing, quality professional learning across one’s career and the importance of a professional body supporting that career development.

The emphasis, ‘The good GP never stops learning’, can and should be parallel to the team working alongside them.

Nurses’ and midwives’ thirst and desire for lifelong learning is not new and has been part of our make-up since before Florence was a girl. In fact all the members of the wondrous multidisciplinary team that is general practice today are on a continuum of learning supported by their respective professional bodies.

APNA offers enough online learning to complete years of a nurse’s CPD requirement, and much of it free to members. Education is a paramount offering for APNA members. To ensure you as APNA members benefit from our stringency and dedication to the highest quality education for nurses to achieve lifelong learning APNA partners with peak bodies and experts and gathers the most current information to develop and update our online education.

For me APNA’s education offering is just the icing on the cake, not why I joined APNA. I joined to be part of a collective with the same mindset and purpose of supporting, learning and developing a profession I love and am very proud of. To be a small part of an organisation run for and by nurses, for me this is the is the true benefit in contributing to APNA as the peak body for nurses working in primary health care.

APNA exists to support its members and develop their profession, and for that reason alone. That’s why you should be an APNA member. That is why all GPs should be proud of their nurse colleagues and wholly support their ongoing membership of APNA.


So, what do you think of the ad?

Message from Julianne: An international perspective on primary health care nursing

Hello APNA family!

I am filling in for Karen Booth who is taking a well-earned break.
APNA staff, Board and I’m sure delegates, are still riding the post Brave to Bold conference wave of euphoria. As Conference Chair I want to take this opportunity to thank the Conference Committee and the team who drove the conference. Well done, you are all amazing and now on to planning 2016 in Melbourne. For those of you who joined us, well done and congratulations for making the conference such a success.

Following on from our highly successful conference we took some of our international keynote speakers, Dr Sheila Tlou (Botswana), Dr Mary Moller (USA), Professor Sue Cross (UK) and Deb Davies (NZ), to Canberra to present at an APNA forum on Monday 18 May. In line with APNA’s ongoing determination to highlight and showcase the importance of primary health care nursing on both the national and the international stage, and to share this wealth of experience and knowledge outside our island home.

The forum – An international perspective on primary health care nursing: A cost and care effective force for change – was held just down from Capital Hill in Old Parliament House. The event was an opportunity to engage with nurses, health organisations and government on some of the key national and international issues affecting primary health nursing. The keynote presentations were very well received and picking up on the energy from the conference, we had a lively panel discussion which rounded off the morning. In case you missed it, the presentations from the event are available on APNA’s website.

Kind Regards,

Julianne Badenoch

25 May 2015

Dear members,

Each year APNA selects a conference theme that is meant to inspire. This year has been no exception. The Hon Ms Sussan Ley, Minister for Health and Ageing, opened APNA’s Brave to Bold conference held on the Gold Coast last week to share in the excitement and celebration of primary health care nursing. Brave to Bold brought together wonderful, enthusiastic nurses from all over the country, to meet, learn, teach, share, network, and inspire creative and innovative nursing practice. I can also tell that more than a few of you had a little fun too. The APNA members of the Conference Advisory Committee and the staff team are all to be congratulated on what I feel was our best conference ever. Our highly regarded and much loved Commonwealth Chief Nurse, Dr Rosemary Bryant, shared with us her brave to bold story, in what will probably be one of her last big appearances before she retires in a few months.

We had a sensational line-up of truly inspiring national and international speakers who really are brave and bold, encouraging nurses to lead the way in many areas of primary health care and career development. Thank you to our international guests Dr Sheila Tlou, Dr Mary Moller, Professor Sue Cross, Deb Davies and Brian Dolan, and to our very own Professor Megan-Jane Johnstone, who gave some of the most enlightening, inspiring and invigorating presentations that I have the pleasure of attending. For those of you unable to attend the conference I urge you to look at the bios on our conference web page and view their great nursing work. We were spoilt for choice for the abstract papers and workshops presented at Brave to Bold. Thank you to all our wonderful presenters.

Thank you to the APNA staff who pulled this together, helped members navigate the conference and whose tireless effort helped to make the Brave to Bold conference special and to keep some of us sane. A big welcome to Alexis Hunt in her new role as CEO and her first APNA conference. Most of all thank you to our members who also made this special – you are the reason for APNA moving from brave to bold!

Next year’s APNA conference will be in… envelope please… Melbourne! See you there.


27 April 2015

Hi everyone,

Our thoughts are with all of our members, subscribers and their communities affected by the savage weather events of the past few weeks. The APNA team wish you a warm and safe recovery and speedy repairs.

There has been no time for dust to settle at APNA as we are dishing out the sequins and the saris ready for the Brave to Bold conference and the Boldlywood Gala Dinner. All of our international guest speakers and sessions are aligned and ready for a bold and sensational conference and networking event. You will also find in this edition the latest news on the Federal Government’s $26m immunisation funding plan to improve vaccination rates.

The highlight for this issue is to announce that today is the first official day of work for our new CEO, Ms Alexis Hunt. The APNA Board and team warmly welcome Alexis aboard and I know she is very keen to get to know our members as soon as possible. The Board would also like to give a very big thank you to Matt Hall, our long time General Manager of Member Services, who has performed a wonderful job as our caretaker CEO and has been working hard to ensure a smooth transition of the role.

Finally… don’t forget to vote in the APNA election! If you haven’t voted already, follow this link or from the APNA home page and have your say in setting the direction for our organisation.

Keep warm and practice your dancing, Boldywood style.



30 March 2015

Dear members,

I’m not going to chat too much today. I’m going to cut straight to the chase because I want to know what you know and think. The expansion and diversification of primary health care and the growing demands for frontline preventive care is changing the face of many services including general practice. I want you to tell me how you feel the modern 21st century general practice looks and works. How would you describe or define contemporary general practice? What does the model look like? What makes a cutting edge general practice? Members, add their thoughts here.

APNA has secured a meeting with the Health Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley. We will be able to showcase the wonderful activities of APNA and the valuable contribution that primary health care nurses make to the health of this nation. We’ll keep you posted.

Also there have been a number of important notices coming to APNA via the General Practice Roundtable and the National Immunisation Committee. There have been updates to the online version of the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition including information about pertussis vaccination in pregnancy and a booster for children aged 18 months. Many areas are seeing a big upswing in whooping cough activity in 2015. Read more here.

There have also been a number of updates regarding the 2015 influenza season. For the latest news, have a look here.

There have also been changes to immunisation reporting to help immunisation providers identify under-immunised children in their practices. The fact sheet can also be accessed via the Immunise Australia website.



16 March 2015

Dear members,

APNA is currently accepting nominations from members for positions on the Board. That means, if there are more nominees than positions available, we go to an election!

People often ask what it’s like to sit on the APNA Board. Governance requires a different perspective from service management. Governance is often described as taking a helicopter view looking down over the organisation to see that all is running to plan: to the Strategic Plan formulated by the Board, and to the operational plan and various activity plans reported to the Board by the CEO. Whilst in that helicopter, the Board is looking at the political landscape and monitoring and fending off risks to the Association from various vantage points, as well as looking for opportunities to grow and promote our organisation. We have some very good runs on the board here. The responsibilities of the Board have become increasingly sophisticated over time, and this reflects the maturity of the organisation. A Board member chairs each of the internal committees as well as general board duties. The Chairs report the work of the committee directly to the Board and this facilitates the ‘big picture’ approach to organisational management.

There is also the opportunity to contribute to external committees and working groups in areas of your expertise. Whilst this is predominantly in a voluntary capacity, being able to contribute to policy development and advance the professional status of primary health care nursing is incredibly rewarding.

Last week saw our much admired CEO Kathy Bell step down from her role at APNA. Matt Hall, APNA General Manager, is steering the ship as the interim CEO whilst the final process of appointing a new CEO is completed. The new CEO will arrive to a solid platform of a well-skilled team, and the Board will provide the additional support needed during the transition period. As APNA President and Vice President, myself and Julianne Badenoch will be available to support a smooth transition for the new CEO and we both intend to renominate to the Board in this current round of APNA Board nominations. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the conference and look forward to your ongoing support.

Kind regards,


16 February 2015

Dear members,

February is seeing a lot of action for APNA and its members. There are workshops rolling out as well as face to face forums (around 20 nationally) to canvass the views of nurses and other stakeholders on the Education and Career Framework for Nurses in General Practice, so keep an eye out for a focus group being held near you.

The nomination and election for positions on the APNA Board is getting near. Information will be available soon on the role of Board Members and how to nominate for election to the APNA Board. Don’t forget to book your place at Brave to Bold, our national conference in May, and Best Practice Awards have opened today – nominate yourself or a well-deserving colleague!

APNA is also receiving requests for suitably experienced nurses to contribute to research projects linked with universities and other eminent research bodies at advisory committee level. This is a great recognition of the valuable contribution that nurses make to primary health care and a wonderful opportunity for nurses to contribute to the evidence base for primary health care. Over the next few months we will be putting out calls for expressions of interest for nurses with expertise in in certain areas of primary health care nursing to contribute to research projects as they arise.



2 February 2015

Dear members,

Well we can’t say this has been a dull few weeks. We are all watching the political space with great interest. APNA has written to the Hon. Sussan Ley congratulating her on her appointment as Health Minister. We have also offered to meet with her to explain and highlight the important role that nurses play in primary health care. Keep your policy thoughts and comments coming to the APNA online forum, APNAnurses Connect.

BUT there have been other exciting things happening. Registration for APNA’s Brave to Bold conference on the Gold Coast has now opened. So start booking your time away from work, and get practicing on your Bollywood dance techniques! The preliminary program has been released with a lineup of inspiring national and international speakers.

Even though it seems like only yesterday the last edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook (10th Edition) arrived on our desks, it is about to undergo its next review. The National Immunisation Committee is interested to have APNA’s input, and I need your thoughts quickly on the following questions:

  • The way the Handbook is used – how often, where, when and why?
  • Strength and weaknesses of the 10th edition compared to previous editions in terms of content, usability and format
  • The layout and size of the Handbook
  • The usefulness and usability of the content of the Handbook
  • Possible future formats of the Handbook, including:
    • Smart phone applications; and
    • The production of the hardcopy Handbook in two separate volumes (a smaller recommendation list and larger reference book).

In other news, Kidney Health Australia is looking for a nurse to join the KCAT (Kidney Check Australia Taskforce) nurse education advisory group. I know there are quite a few members participating in the CKD and CHD Collaborative program and you may be keen to contribute at an education level. If you are interested please send a small bio and contact details to admin@apna.asn.au and I will give you a call to chat in more detail about this very worthy cause.

The Education and Career Framework is pressing onwards and upwards and we are collecting valuable thoughts and comments from our members. You can join the forum discussion here. Keep ‘em coming.

Finally, congratulations and welcome to all those nurses new to primary health care and general practice in 2015. The Northern Sydney Medicare Local and Sydney University transition to practice pilot kicked off this week. This is the first of a number pilots that will appear in 2015 to encourage nurses to work in general practice. APNA’s Foundations of General Practice Nursing orientation workshops are rolling out around the country starting with Melbourne next Thursday – find out all of the dates here.



19 January 2015

Dear members,

It has been a fast and furious beginning to 2015. The biggest news of the past few days has been the Government holding off the changes to MBS Level A and B consultations after the campaign by primary health care groups gained momentum and became too loud to ignore. The funding freeze until 2018 and the $5 rebate cut are still planned to go ahead in July 2015. I have described the A vs B events as ‘holding off’ as these changes are not off the health funding agenda, but are being held over until further community consultation by the new health minister Sussan Ley has been undertaken.

A real opportunity exists here to review the delivery model in primary health care, and in general practice in particular. The Minister has promised to convene a meeting of key stakeholders in primary health care, but we can’t just talk about the funding status quo. There needs to be alternatives presented on how we can deliver care better, more efficiently, and how this might be funded. We know nurse-led care is a successful model used in many countries. We know that in Australia, clinics where nurses are employed to streamline care are delivering more efficient care and improving access to essential primary health care service. At many visits the patient will see two highly trained health professionals, but only the GP time is counted by Medicare. There have been some fantastic comments and ideas on how to better utilise primary health care and nurse care on our policy forum. We will be able to use these ideas to help formulate our approach to government. I urge you to view these comments and add your thoughts.

APNA also has key work happening on the education and career framework. Please go the APNAnurses Connect forum and give us your feedback – we want your ideas. We want to know what is happening in your working world and what you see would make your career path more formalised and more satisfying not just for you but for our profession. We look forward to hearing from you. The three discussion are:

Education and Career Framework for Nurses in General Practice – Consultation Paper 1
An education and career framework: Be informed, be prepared and be proactive
Health outcomes 

Other exciting activities for early 2015 include the APNA orientation workshops for nurses new to general practice that will kick off in Sydney in February. For lots more info on the program and dates around the country visit our website.

GPNSW will be holding the Primary Health and Community Care Leaders Forum on Wednesday 25 February. The forum will focus on Integrated Primary Health Care: Vision & Reality and I will be presenting on nursing workforce issues. The forum is open to all professionals in the primary health care arena.

I look forward to seeing you all on APNAnurses Connect – www.apnanurses.asn.au.