Nurse practitioners (NP) from a diverse range of practices will be celebrating Nurse Practitioners Day on 12 December.
NP Week runs from 10-16 December, with the theme being ‘Share your story’.
“The first NPs in Australia were endorsed on 12 December 2000 and there are now more than 1,700 across the country,” said NP Danielle Edgar, who is based at the Toowoomba Hospital emergency department (ED).
“We have 14 NPs working within Darling Downs Health, including nine in various EDs - six at Toowoomba, two in Warwick, and one in Stanthorpe ED; two in mental health - one in Warwick and one in Stanthorpe; one in the renal department at Kingaroy Hospital; one in aged care and one in urogynaecology here at Toowoomba Hospital.
“To qualify as an NP you must firstly be a registered nurse with credentials in your field of speciality, and then you must have attained a Master’s Degree in that field.
“We can be the primary caregiver but we collaborate and consult with other health providers or specialists as needed with an aim to ensure the best health outcomes, so in essence our role is to compliment consultants, which helps patient flow and reduces waiting times, both in ED and in specialist outpatients settings.”
Toowoomba-based Urogynaecology NP Julie Westaway said the 13-strong cohort of Darling Downs Health NPs had been looking forward to NP Week.
“The NP role is still not as widely known or familiar in Australia as it is overseas so occasions such as NP Week and NP Day provides a great opportunity to showcase the work we do,” she said.
“NPs have been around in the United States and many other parts of the world since the 1960s, but for a much shorter time here, so it’s great to see this career pathway gaining more prominence within the nursing profession.”