Page 2652 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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The Belconnen walk-in centre will have the advantage, for clients, of being in the Belconnen town centre, not next to the nearest emergency department which is at Calvary. Indeed, the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute’s review of the Canberra Hospital walk-in centre sang the joys of walk-in centres located in a community setting as even more effective, based on their research. I have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of Belconnen’s walk-in centre. It is an exciting development in health care in Ginninderra.

But the wait means Belconnen’s new centre will benefit from the experience gained at our first walk-in centre at Canberra Hospital. It will learn from that centre, the practice nurses and nurse practitioners who run it and from the review of the first centre that they contributed to.

Of course, we have seen the respect the Liberal Party holds for nurses, with the mass sackings of nurses in Liberal-governed states, especially Queensland. Perhaps there, but for the grace of the ACT electors last October, would have gone Canberra nurses. In chapter 5 of the review, “Walk-in Centre Nurse Satisfaction”, it says at page 82—

Members interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Doszpot): Dr Bourke, could you sit down for a second. Members, we have heard most people quietly. Can we give Dr Bourke a chance to be heard as well now. Thank you. Dr Bourke, resume.

DR BOURKE: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. In chapter 5 of the review, “Walk-in Centre Nurse Satisfaction”, it says at page 82:

When higher levels of nurse job satisfaction are experienced, there is an increase in morale and commitment which makes it more likely that a nurse will stay in the profession. Nursing job satisfaction is important to both health care providers and patients. Nursing satisfaction has been linked to positive patient outcomes and a greater perceived quality of care.

Furthermore it says:

A clear understanding of the nurse practitioner role in the Walk-in Centre, the associated clinical governance and need for collaboration will support successful implementation; providing a source of satisfaction for nurse practitioners able to fully implement their roles, and for advanced practice nurses in terms of an available career structure and organisational mobility.

Nurse practitioners are enjoying new levels of responsibility in the walk-in centres. Other professions in the health sector are getting used to them and recognising them as key members of a healthcare team. Nurse practitioners require many years of experience in a clinical speciality and a masters qualification. The ACT now has 30 nurse practitioners working in both the public and private sectors, and they are leading the way for the profession nationally.

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