Heather Gale, Practice Nurse, Bowral
I have been Nursing for 30 years having split that time between the acute care and primary care sectors. I am a RN/Midwife, with Post graduate qualifications in Nurse Education and Master of Nursing. I have been a Practice Nurse for the last 8 years in a permanent part time role. The remainder of my week is spent Teaching at the University of Wollongong.
I share my Practice Nurse roles with 7 other Nursing colleagues, among them are 1 Nurse Practitioner, 4 RNs, 1 EEN, and 1 EN. Working with an average of 14 Doctors in any given week, each Practice Nurse has a significant role to play both unique to their scope of practice and to the contribution they make to the Practice patients in partnership with the Patients’ GP.
Our roles can include chronic disease management and patient education, complete INR management, health assessments, well women’s health including pap smears, minor operation assistance, aural health, childhood immunisation and travel vaccination, parent infant support services and general recall and reminder procedures to name a few. But such is the variety and scope of Nurse Practice in GP Land!
I am specifically supported to offer Lactation Consultation appointments, and receive internal referrals regarding the same in addition to a growing drop in service. I also offer general early parenting support and advice, as a follow up for issues raised by parents and babies at an immunisation appointment.
It is in General Practice that I have developed the most as a Nurse Professional. My exposure, education and training around advanced Nursing Skills has been an unsurpassed highlight in my nursing career thus far, as has working closely with GPs who love to share their medical knowledge, particularly in their knowledge of drugs and their efficacy, pathology, and differential diagnoses.
My Professional Development is empowered and enabled by the work of APNA in it’s concern for, and practical support of, the Practice Nurse workforce, and the tireless work of our Local PHN.
I love my work and sharing my working life with my nursing students.
Donna von Blanckensee – CEO CD Program Development
RN, Cert IV TAE, Grad Cert Advising on Chronic Disease Self-Management, Diploma Management
As a registered nurse and CEO of C D Program Development I am privileged to work with primary health care nurses and organisations across Australia, and while the location and size of primary health care organisations may vary, the dedication and commitment to improved patient outcomes and the strengthening of the primary health care team by nurses remains consistent.
In my work within the primary health care setting I continue to witness primary health care nurses increasingly step into leadership roles, roles that are resulting in new and innovative ways of meeting the increasing demands of the primary health care arena. In my role as CEO of CD Program Development I am able work with primary health care organisaitons and their nurses to design and implement patient management strategies that are resuting in more patients screened, identified and effectively managed with regard to their specific health care needs as well as raise the profile of the primary heath care nurse.
One of the many highlights during the last 12 months has been continuing to work with APNA to deliver part of the Foundations of General Practice Nursing workshops held in Adelaide, SA. I was again able to share valuable content, as well as my own passion and enthusiasm for primary health care with a room full of nurses new to general practice nursing. I always leave these workshops feeling confident that primary health care nursing is experiencing new levels of professionalism which will ultimately result in improved patient outcomes.
Carolyn Lally – General Practice Nurse, Virginia Medical Centre, Virginia, South Australia
I have enjoyed working as a primary health care nurse for around seven years, most of it at Virginia Medical Centre in semi-rural location north of Adelaide. I chose to move to general practice as a lifestyle change after many years in a variety of clinical and research positions around Australia – I just wish I had made the change sooner!
Catching up with fellow general practice nurses at education events had highlighted the need for more support for nurses who often feel isolated within their own practice and unsure of where to go for guidance. In early 2014 I started collecting email addresses with the plan to initiate a Nurse Network. A group of four nurses then met over dinner and planned our initial meeting, which was held in August 2014. Early on we approached APNA and came to be part of the Nurse Connect initiative, along with other groups Australia-wide. APNA has been very supportive of the coordinators, who were able to travel to Melbourne in February 2015 to share our ideas and learn some new skills to assist with setting up our networks.
Our group has been highly successful, with 16-30 nurses attending each meeting, and over 70 nurses having attended at least one meeting. We meet every six weeks, and enjoy roundtable discussions and guest speakers on topics that the group has chosen. Although we are well supported by APNA and the Northern Health Network (NHN) – who kindly provide us with a venue, catering and admin support, our group is independent and has evolved to meet its own demands. Our network is very dynamic and feedback so far has been very positive.
What’s your experience with nurse networks in your area? We would love to hear your story.
If you are interested in being involved in a nurse network see here.