Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Practice Nursing in Australia: Ready for Prime Time

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Practice Nursing in Australia: Ready for Prime Time

Article excerpt

Significant discussion and debate in contemporary health care systems focuses on workforce issues, particularly addressing the shortage of personnel and the access scope, setting and models of practice of health care workers. Although the popular media portray the acute hospital setting as the chief place of nursing practice and health care delivery, we are all well aware that this highly technological milieu is neither appropriate nor effective in managing chronic conditions and more importantly promoting self-management to empower individuals and communities to prevent disease (Wagner 1998).

Although the community setting has long been recognised as an appropriate and effective setting for health care delivery (McMurray 2007), the general practice setting in Australia has only in recent times attracted attention from policy and professional bodies (Halcomb et al. 2005; McAvoy 2005). As health professionals, researchers and policy makers strive to develop models of care that are less reactive and more appropriate to preventing, rather that treating disease and managing chronic conditions, the general practice setting is a logical and appropriate choice to promote interdisciplinary practice. In Australia, the general practice setting is the major provider of health care services (HaIcomb et al. 2005). It is inevitable that nurses will provide an increasingly important role in this setting, particularly with the increasing burden of chronic conditions. In order to develop models of practice that are complementary and not competitive and more importantly acceptable to the Australian community we need to undertake scholarly debate (Hegney, Price, Patterson et al. 2004).

This special edition of Contemporary Nurse, Advances in Contemporary General Practice Nursing: Role of the Practice Nurse (ISBN 978-0-97577103-7), provides an opportunity to undertake this discussion and debate. This Special Edition explores the role of nurses internationally in a range of primary health care settings in both independent and collaborative practice and also investigates regulatory and professional concerns. This international perspective allows nurses to explore issues relating to interdisciplinary practice and emulate effective and efficient models in engaging communities.

Until recently the practice nurse role has been largely invisible in scholarly discussion and debate, particularly in the Australian setting. …

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