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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5226 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

practitioner, to support the legal conditions for extending nursing practice and to ensure the appropriate standards of practice and education are formalised according to the health expectations of the health profession and the community.

The Nurse Practitioners Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 is the next step towards endorsing this extended nursing role and is consistent with the future direction for the profession as outlined by the national review of nursing education and recommendation 34 of the Senate inquiry into nursing. The legislation is also in line with international and national trends to establish nurse practitioners and to make legislative changes to allow them to be registered to practise. Nurse practitioner roles are being implemented in the public sector in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia and consequential legislative changes have already occurred in New South Wales and Western 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 in 2002 demonstrated that nurse practitioners provide safe health care and offer additional choices to consumers whilst using a collaborative team approach. Formal education for nurse practitioners in the ACT will occur through an approved nurse practitioners master program at the University of Canberra. This course will be the first to utilise evidence-based research generated by the ACT trial to determine course content.

Consequential legislative changes are necessary to allow nurse practitioners to undertake the expanded scope of practice that has shown to be effective during the trial. These consequential amendments will include prescribing medications in accordance with agreed medication formulary, ordering diagnostic tests from an agreed list and referring patients to other health professionals. Under the proposed legislative amendments, nurse practitioners will be registered nurses who practise at an expanded level within an authorised scope of practice and who are authorised to use the title nurse practitioner.

Use of the title without authorisation is an offence under the Nurses Act 1988. The registration and discipline of nurse practitioners will be undertaken in accordance with the usual processes that apply to all registered nurses. The ACT community will benefit from this extended nursing practice in the autonomous assessment and management of clients using nursing knowledge and skills gained through advanced education and clinical experience in a specific area of nursing practice within a multidisciplinary team environment. I commend the Nurse Practitioners Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 and its accompanying explanatory statement to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Dangerous Substances Bill 2003

Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.39): I move:

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