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?

3 thoughts on “Where is the nurse?

  1. Perhaps this is the first…. a retrospective view, like “The Ghost of Christmases Past”. The old idea of the white Anglo-Saxon male GP has been there from the cradle to the grave is so comforting but not how general practice appears today. I work with mainly female GPs working part-time, with an integrated team. I look forward to their vision of the future. “Christmas Yet to Come”!

  2. Where is the nurse?
    Invisible… just as we are in the RACGP “Vision for a Sustainable Health System”. When we do rate a mention, in this GP centred document, we are “…valuable members of the general practice team. They provide assistance to GPs in providing preventive care for patients with acute health problems as well as chronic disease and service coordination”. That’s right, we are assistants. No recognition of nurses as professionals who are cable of delivering autonomous or collaborative nursing care to improve patient outcomes.

    To add to the insult I cannot see a single reference on nurses in primary care despite evidence to support the value of nurses both overseas and in Australia. Surprise, surprise, there is no attempt to look at new and innovative roles such as the nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

    The Vision of the RACGP is to retain the GP monopoly on health. It does not matter that patients cannot get appointments on time or wait for hours in crowded germ ridden waiting rooms so long as the status quo remains.

    As far as the ad goes I would say it exactly depicts the role the RACGP would like to maintain. The GP at the centre of the universe of health, the loan-ranger, the hero, the elite.
    The good GP is someone who keeps on learning. The good GP is not someone who shares that learning, who empowers others in the team or who stands aside to allow progress.

    One thing – we do rate higher with the RACGP than pharmacists- they do not even rate a mention in the vision. Sounds like an opportunity for joint action.

  3. Fully agree Julinanne, Jane and Tracy!

    The RACGP generally sees nurses as other members of the general practice team assisting GPs to delivery care. Unfortunately this care can be GP centric and business model driven rather than person focused and inclusive of the great nurses. I will say I have worked with some GPs who appreciate the work of nurses and recognise the difference in roles and why patients respond to such team care. I also agree that there is some evidence of things changing in general practice but this is very limited in my personal experience. I wonder if the RACGP consulted its members before these adds were developed?

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