A warm welcome to Julie Reeves, a much needed addition to the Professional Team. Julie has come to the ANMF Federal Office from her role as Senior Policy Officer at AHPRA. Already in the last four months, her clinical, education, policy and regulation background has proven a fabulous asset to the work of the Federation.
Julie arrived just in time to assist us with completing the 18 month review project of the ANF Competency Standards for Nurses in General Practice. The new standards, funded by the Australian Government, are now titled National Practice Standards for Nurses in General Practice and were finalised in December before they were submitted to the Department of Health.
These standards are of great importance as the number of nurses choosing to work in primary healthcare, and particularly general practice, is continuing to grow. In the last 10 years, numbers of nurses in general practice have doubled, with now nearly 12,000 nurses working in this setting and over 63% of practices employing at least one nurse. It is essential that we clearly articulate what constitutes best practice for registered nurses and enrolled nurses involved in and being attracted to this increasingly popular area of practice.
The project was completed in collaboration with our research partner the University of Wollongong, led by Dr Elizabeth Halcomb, Professor of Primary Health Care Nursing, and ably assisted by the ANMF Professional Team which also included Christine Ashley, ANMF Project Officer. It was a huge undertaking but we are delighted to have produced a quality document following wide-ranging consultation. Of course, we couldn’t have done any of it without input from the profession.
The team here at Federal Office would like to thank the hundreds of nurses who generously committed their time to participating in the research, reviewing the successive drafts and contributing to the national standards. We also acknowledge the significant contribution of the Project Advisory Group and Reference Group members to the research and development of these standards.
To accompany the standards we are revising the Standards toolkit to include a self-assessment tool for use against the standards, a professional development plan and portfolio, sample advertisements, job descriptions and sample interview questions.
The new national standards and toolkit will be available on the ANMF Federal Office website within the next few months. These documents will be developed into a free e-book which can be accessed through the Apple i-book app around the middle of the year.
Another project we have been working on is the National School Nursing Standards review. In 2009 the Victorian School Nurses ANMF Victorian Branch Special Interest Group published a set of professional practice standards specifically for nurses working within a school setting. ANMF Federal Office was invited to adapt these standards for national applicability. Following consultation, we launched the National School Nursing Professional Practice Standards in 2012, and made them available through our website.
These national standards included an opportunity to provide feedback on their applicability for school nurses and school communities. We made a commitment, on release of the document, to commence a review of the standards in 2014.
It’s been pleasing to see the number of school nurses who have downloaded and read the standards document. Our professional team is now proceeding to formally review these standards. We have invited all school nurses across Australia to contribute your views on the standards.
Already we’ve received significant feedback from nurses working in a range of school settings and in different jurisdictions. These comments have highlighted the need for the standards to reflect the variation in school nursing practice and to provide broad guidance for their national applicability. We wish to express our thanks to those who have undertaken extensive work to provide feedback during past months and assure you that all your comments will be considered during this review process. It’s still not too late to contribute, feedback remains open until 13 February 2015. In addition to developing and revising standards for nursing and midwifery practice, the ANMF Professional Team contribute to work led by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) on both education and entry to practice standards.
Keep an eye out for the work ANMAC have just completed on the revision of the midwife accreditation standards, the re-entry to the register and entry programs for internationally qualified (EPIQ) registered nurse accreditation standards, and the nurse practitioner accreditation standards. The NMBA will soon be releasing the revised enrolled nurse standards for practice.
Finally, just a reminder that the public consultation phase of the NMBA’s review of the registered nurse standards, which started midway through last year, will be commencing shortly. We’ll keep you posted on all standards under review so you can take the opportunity to contribute your views. We are looking forward to continuing to work with our members in all the states and territories in 2015.
Julianne Bryce, Elizabeth Foley and Julie Reeves
Federal Professional Officers