Survey reveals: Nurses underused in Australia’s healthcare crisis


A new survey has revealed that many highly skilled nurses in GP clinics are spending their time on administrative tasks instead of providing medical care. This is happening despite a shortage of healthcare workers across Australia.

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) surveyed nurses working in GP clinics and found some surprising results. Four out of five nurses, with an average of 21 years of experience, are regularly doing non-medical work that could be done by less qualified staff.

Here’s what these nurses are doing instead of providing healthcare:

  • 68.8% are making appointment reminders
  • 32% are managing supplies
  • 16% are working at the reception

This means these nurses aren’t able to do the important medical tasks they’re trained for, like women’s health checks, mental health assessments, or educating patients about conditions like diabetes and asthma.

Karen Booth, the president of APNA, said, “It really is a complete waste of time having highly qualified and very experienced registered nurses sitting on the front desk, whilst people are waiting longer and longer to see a doctor.”

The nurses in the survey said they want to do more medical work and use the skills they’ve been trained for. Booth believes that allowing nurses to work to their full abilities could help more people get the healthcare they need, especially in rural areas where there aren’t enough doctors.

“Nurses are valued, trusted and skilled but are chronically underutilised at a time of severe workforce shortage,” Booth said. “Nurses are here to make Australia healthier and instead are underutilised.”

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