However, data from the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Workforce Survey reveals that nearly one-third of PHC nurses are unable to work to fully utilise their skills and expertise.
According to the survey, approximately 31% of PHC nurses report being unable to work to their full scope of practice. This underutilisation is attributed to funding restrictions and other key systems and structural barriers.
APNA President Karen Booth emphasised the need for policymakers to leverage the skills and expertise of PHC nurses to drive health system reforms. “Nurses are safe, highly skilled, regulated, and trusted. It’s time our health system allowed them to use their full skills and experience to improve the health of Australia,” Booth stated.
The survey findings indicate that PHC nurses are equipped to address chronic diseases and prevent illness. However, funding restrictions and systemic barriers impede their ability to fully contribute to patient care and address workforce shortages.
Primary Health Care Nurses Day serves as an opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of PHC nurses and advocate for policy changes that enable them to work to their full potential. “PHC nurses are safe, highly skilled, regulated and trusted. They are also ready, willing, and able to do more for the health of Australia if they are supported by the right policy changes,” Booth said.
APNA looks forward to collaborating with policymakers to implement reforms that empower PHC nurses and enhance healthcare delivery for the Australian community. As advocates for improved health outcomes, PHC nurses play a vital role in shaping the future of Australia’s healthcare system.
The APNA Workforce Survey, which recorded approximately 3500 responses in 2023, remains a crucial tool in understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by PHC nurses nationwide. This comprehensive survey provides insights into workforce dynamics and informs strategies for improvement.