WDHS celebrates Nurse Practitioner Week

In recognition of Nurse Practitioner Week, a special Nurse Practitioner Information Afternoon will be held on Friday, December 15, from 1.30pm to 4.00pm at Hamilton Base Hospital. This event serves as a celebration of the crucial role Nurse Practitioners (NPs) play in providing high-quality healthcare across Australia and the significant place they hold in Australian healthcare history.

Nurse Practitioner Week commemorates the announcement of Australia’s first Nurse Practitioners in Parliament in 2000 and highlights the ongoing contributions they make in delivering comprehensive and accessible healthcare services. Since its inception, the NP role has flourished, with approximately 2,200 practitioners contributing to the healthcare landscape in 2021.

Western District Health Service (WDHS) NP Meg Watson stated that to be recognized as a Nurse Practitioner, individuals must be Registered Nurses with a minimum of 5,000 hours working in an Advanced Clinical Practice role, possess tertiary qualifications at a master’s level, and be endorsed by the Nurses and Midwifery Board of Australia.

‘The Nurse Practitioner Information Afternoon at Hamilton Base Hospital provides a unique opportunity for NPs to network, share insights, and discuss their contributions to the region’s healthcare. For nurses considering the pathway to becoming a Nurse Practitioner, this event offers a chance to have questions answered directly by experienced professionals,’ Ms Watson said.

The emergence of the NPs globally addresses evolving healthcare needs, including aging populations, increased chronic health conditions, workforce shortages, and a growing emphasis on delivering accessible, affordable, and holistic care to diverse and often marginalized populations.

NPs offer their services in various settings, such as community health centres, GP clinics, aged care facilities, hospitals, prisons, schools, universities, pharmacies, and even in the comfort of your home. Importantly, they have the authority to access Medicare rebates for eligible patients, prescribe medications, and provide access to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme within their Scope of Practice or area of expertise.

NPs can order x-rays and diagnostic tests, interpret results, and make referrals to hospitals and specialists. Their services are generally bulk-billed, and no referral is needed to consult with them.

Notable speakers at the event include Suzie Clayden, Heart Failure Nurse Practitioner at South West Health Care; Meg Watson, Respiratory Nurse Practitioner at WDHS; and Hannah Beks, a Ruralist General Nurse Researcher. All interested parties are welcome, No RSVP is required for attendance.

Caption: L-R photo WDHS Nurse Practitioner Meg Watson with Nurse Practitioner Students Mandy Shaw & Sharon Homberg

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