Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1684 ..

MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (10:58): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present today the Nurses Amendment Bill 2003. Establishing the role of nurse practitioner is part of the government's commitment to building a strong, sustainable nursing work force in the territory, as was highlighted in the government's ACT Health Action Plan 2002. In December last year the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, launched a report of the successful trial of the nurse practitioner role, The ACT nurse practitioner project final report of the steering committee.

The report recommended regulation and endorsement of the nurse practitioner role. It also identified the processes of authorisation and credentialling that were necessary to protect the title of nurse practitioner, support the legal conditions for extending nursing practice and ensure that appropriate standards of practice and education are formalised according to the health expectations of the health profession and the wider community.

The Nurses Amendment Bill 2003 is the first step towards endorsing this extended nursing role and is consistent with the future direction as outlined for the profession by the National Review of Nursing Education and recommendation 34 of the Senate inquiry into nursing. The bill is also in line with international and national trends to establish nurse practitioners and make legislation changes to allow them to be registered to practise.

Nurse practitioner roles are being implemented in the public sector of New South Wales, and legislation changes have also occurred in South Australia. Nurse practitioners offer new approaches to providing high quality health care for people who do not easily have access to current health services. The successful ACT nurse practitioner trial demonstrated that nurse practitioners provide safe health care and offer additional choices to consumers whilst using a collaborative approach.

Further legislative changes will be introduced later this year to allow nurse practitioners to undertake the expanded scope of practice that has shown itself to be effective during the trial, but the changes required to accredit the University of Canberra course need to be made quickly so the course can commence.

Formal education of nurse practitioners in the ACT is due to commence later this year through a masters program at the University of Canberra. This course will be the first to utilise evidence-based research, generated by the ACT trial, to determine the course content. These amendments are essential to enable the Nurses Board of the ACT to accredit the course and begin educating nurse practitioners for the Canberra community.

The current Nurses Act 1998 provides for the registration and enrolment of nurses, the supervision of nursing, education and standards, and for related purposes. Currently, the act does not refer to nurse practitioners. It is therefore necessary to amend the act to protect the title of nurse practitioner to allow the Nurses Board of the ACT to register nurse practitioners and accredit postgraduate nurse practitioner courses.

The ACT community will benefit from this extended nursing practice in the autonomous assessment and management of clients and in the use of nursing knowledge and skills

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .