Melanie Dunstan - Child and Family Health Nurse Practitioner

Mel Dunstan photo

Tell us a little about your nursing journey.

I started my nursing journey in Melbourne, Victoria. I completed a Graduate Program at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, after a few years my nursing friends were all starting to move off into specialties’, I decided to become a Midwife. Working at Box Hill Hospital, while I gained my midwifery qualification gave me the skills and confidence to look for a job that would allow me to work closely with women. I found this job in Mildura in Rural Victoria. Here I worked across a variety of roles, including work

ing with young women and Non-English-speaking women, this opened the door for me to work in the community.

I worked for an Aboriginal Health Servic

e, where I realized I needed additional skills in Immunisation and Child Health, so that I was able to provide a quality service. I completed Qualifications in Child and Family Health Nursing and Women’s Health including sexual health. I worked at the local Council as a Child Health Nurse before moving to Cairns, Queensland to start a Position with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

This saw me work in parts of rural and remote Queensland for over 8 years including a time in Mount Isa. While working at RFDS I completed Nurse Practitioner studies. Since leaving the RFDS I have worked within a homelessness outreach service and GP Practice as a NP.

My current role as a Nurse Practitioner

Currently I am working as an NP, within an Aboriginal Health service attached to a boarding school and at True Relationships and Reproductive Health. Both these roles fulfill my love of Primary Health Care as well as working with women and children.

What am I hoping to achieve in my current role as a Nurse Practitioner?

In my current roles, I love to be able to use my skills to achieve outcomes for clients. I enjoy empowering the students to be active in learning about healthcare and how they can navigate the system.  At True, I enjoy working with women and assisting with their sexual and reproductive health needs.  I enjoy advocating for greater access to Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners for all.

What advice would you have for anyone wanting to become a Nurse Practitioner?

I encourage you to become a Nurse Practitioner, I believe that every Australian deserves to have access to a Nurse Practitioner as we provide unique skills to the health care team.  While the study may be challenging at times, it’s well worth it!

How do you think health consumers will benefit from seeing a Nurse Practitioner?

Nurses think differently and provide care in a holistic manner.  This unique nursing lens reduces wait times, increases access, and improves patient outcomes. Nurse Practitioners are valued members of the healthcare team.