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.



Education and Career Framework

I hope you all had a relaxing Easter holiday break. Roll on the Queen’s birthday!

We are rapidly moving ahead with our work on the development of the Education and Career Framework for general practice nurses. Since my last post we have been very busy engaging with many of our members (as well as non-members) in a series of focus groups run across the country. We have also published our second Consultation Paper – see APNA Consultation Paper #2 – which has a series of 17 questions under four main subject headings. We have now extended the deadline for feedback on this paper (and the questions contained in the paper) to 30 April 2015 (it was previously 18 April).

I would encourage everyone to have a good look at this paper and consider what else we need to be considering in the development of the Education and Career Framework. This framework has been a while in the making and we need to make sure we finish up with a structure that is clear, logical and relevant for today’s nurses.

For those of you heading to APNA’s national conference in the Gold Coast in May, there will also be an opportunity to discuss the Education and Career Framework at the pre conference workshop to be held on Thursday 14 May 2015 (see pre Conference workshops).

I look forward to your feedback.


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.



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…


13 October 2014

Dear Members,

There is a lot happening in the sphere of primary health care nursing and your professional association has been busily checking out the action and making representations on your behalf. Since my last entry in APNA’s eNews, Kathy Bell and I have had a very successful two days of meetings in Canberra. We met Senator Richard Di Natale, the Greens’ health spokesperson, and also the Hon Catherine King MP, the Shadow Minister for Health. We received warm welcomes from both politicians and both were well informed about primary health care and the important role that nurses in primary health care play in patient care, population health, and support for practices and services. We emphasised that nurses play a crucial role in improving access to care for the Australian population, and that to build and maintain a robust and well informed workforce there needs to be ongoing and adequate funding. We also met with Janine Mohamed and Colleen Gibbs from the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM). APNA has been invited to attend their Summit in early November and we look forward to strengthening our ties with CATSINaM.

Kathy Bell and I also met Australia’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Dr Rosemary Bryant, and key leaders from the health workforce branch within the Department of Health. We updated the Department on our activities, particularly the direction we are taking to commence work on our long awaited education and career framework. Don’t forget to visit our new APNA online forum, ‘APNAnurses CONNECT’ which was launched on Thursday last week and is already attracting much attention. To help kick off the action on our new forum, have your say on the career framework. Your views count!

In other news, APNA Vice President, Julianne Badenoch attended the RACGP conference ‘GP14’ this week. This was a valuable opportunity to keep abreast with changes in the general practice environment and to network and build stakeholder relationships. As an APNA representative I participated in the review of the Emergency Response Planning tool, which was showcased in a session entitled the Zombie Apocalypse. For a limited time the RACGP is offering to assist practices with online emergency response planning – contact the RACGP for more information. GP14 also saw the launch of the Abuse and violence: working with our patients in general practice, 4th edition, aka the ‘White Book’. APNA also hosts an online learning module on ‘Prevention and Management of Elder Abuse in Health Care Settings’.

Kind Regards,


An education and career framework: Be informed, be prepared and be proactive

For many years – certainly as long ago as 1998 when I entered general practice – nurses have been talking about a structured approach to employment into general practice, the education to provide relevant high quality nursing care and an appropriate structure of recognition to reflect these.

With constant input and persistent lobbying, APNA has secured funding to start this process – a very important milestone, and one to be celebrated. Even more important is to make sure we seize this opportunity and agree on a framework that suits the needs of nurses, employers, general practice teams and patients.

For this reason, the input of members is incredibly important to this process and we need to hear from all members on what you see our career framework to look like.

From novice to experienced and advanced level nurses, ultimately it is going to effect YOU!

A framework will improve recruitment, improve retention, increase recognition of skills and qualifications, and support nurse productivity by ensuring you are able to work to you full professional capability, support quality assurance by making sure the right nurse is performing the right care on the right patient at the right time.

It is hoped the career framework will encourage and recognise the important role nurses play not only as mentors of other nurses but in the development of primary health care capacity and service delivery. A well articulated career framework will facilitate a better understanding of the vital role of nurses in primary health care by employers and other health disciplines. Importantly it also supports primary health care reform, improving access by utilising nursing skills appropriately to expand access to care earlier where it can make a difference, and that means saving money for our health system.

Warm regards,


So, what do you have to say on all this? Do you think a framework will be of any use? Will it help you in any tangible way?

What does a framework look like to you? Where do you fit into the big picture?

Click here to join the discussion.