Nurse Practitioner Week 11-17 December 2023


Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses who have the authority to practice independently and collaboratively in an expanded clinical role. The role was established in the United States in 1965, and in Australia in 2000. Today there are over 2500+ Nurse Practitioners in Australia.

Nurse Practitioner is a legally protected title with the role supported by legislation at both state and national level. Nurse Practitioners have professional autonomy and are responsible and accountable for the care they provide for each episode of care. Nurse practitioners are required to hold professional indemnity insurance. They consult with their nursing peers, medical specialists, general practitioners, and allied health professionals, to provide quality, holistic care to their patients. They work collaboratively to ensure patient care is integrated across the primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare settings.

The title "Nurse Practitioner" can only be used by a person who has been endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Essential differences in healthcare with a Nurse Practitioner: 

  • Improving health outcomes for patients and the community
  • Practice in all areas and sectors of healthcare
  • Providing much-needed health care services in areas and populations deemed vulnerable
  • Work in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote settings
  • Patient-focused and person-centered healthcare
  • NPs can diagnose and treat a variety of health-related conditions
  • NPs can prescribe medications
  • NPs can order and interpret pathology and radiology tests
  • Initiate and receive referrals from health professionals
  • Strong communication and links with multidisciplinary teams
  • Case management and care coordination
  • Can work autonomously and independently
  • Can provide extensive health education relevant to each person
  • Can have their own private practices
  • Can admit and treat patients in hospitals

Nurse Practitioners must have:

  • Equivalent full-time experience of at least 5,000 hours at an advanced clinical nursing level, and;
  • Completed their Masters through a NMBA approved course.

NPs in Australia work in a variety of settings, including Public, Private, Community and Primary Care; in Rural, Remote and Metropolitan locations.

NP specialities include emergency and critical care, aged care, chronic and complex disease, alcohol and other drugs, medical, surgical, private practice, women’s health, mental health, palliative care, paediatrics, and many others, with some taking on generalist, and highly specialised roles.

Many Nurse Practitioners in Australia and around the world have their own private practices.

NPs are identifying a real gap in health care and servicing this need for the community. With many regional and rural towns without General Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners work collaboratively to ensure that the community receives continuity of high quality care.

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