Primary Health Care Nurses Day 2024

Australia will be healthier if 96,000 Primary Health Care nurses are better utilised 

Media Release 7 February 2024


On Primary Health Care Nurses Day, APNA Workforce Survey data shows almost one third of primary health care (PHC) nurses (31%) in Australia are still unable to work to their full scope of practice. 

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) is calling on policymakers to better utilise nurses, the largest workforce in PHC, as they reform the health system.  

“Nurses are safe, highly skilled, regulated and trusted.  It’s time our health system allowed them to use their full skills and experience to improve the health of Australia,” APNA President Karen Booth said.    

“Nurses have a sophisticated skill set and we know that enabling them to work to their full scope of practice will improve access to care and help tackle health workforce shortages across Australia.” 

New survey figures released today1 show that PHC nurses are capable and willing to tackle chronic disease and prevent illness, but are held back, due to funding restrictions and other key systems and structural barriers. 

Ms Booth said Primary Health Care Nurses Day is a chance to recognise the critical work PHC nurses do as science-based health professionals and celebrate Australia’s PHC nurses right across the country. 

“PHC nurses are safe, highly skilled, regulated and trusted. They are also ready, willing, and able to do more for the health of Australia if they are supported by the right policy changes,” Ms Booth said. 

“APNA looks forward to working with the Albanese Government to implement policies that enable nurses to work to their full scope of practice to support and improve the health of the Australian community,” Ms Booth said.   

 

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About the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association 

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) is the peak professional body for the 96,000 nurses working in primary health care. This includes nurses in general practice, aged care, defence, disability services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, corrections and other community settings. APNA champions the role of primary health care nurses; to advance professional recognition, ensure workforce sustainability, nurture leadership in health, and optimise the role of nurses in patient-centred care.

 

About Primary Health Care Nurses Day 

In 2024, APNA is launching the inaugural Primary Health Care Nurses Day to celebrate the amazing work that nurses do outside of the hospital setting, in aged care, community, general practice, custodial, schools and a range of other primary health care settings. The initiative is encouraging people to express gratitude on Wednesday, 7 February 2024 by wearing primary colours on Primary Health Care Nurses Day. This symbolic gesture aims to acknowledge and appreciate the crucial contributions these healthcare professionals make in the proactive wellbeing of all Australians, to keep them well and out of hospital. Learn more and get involved - https://www.apna.asn.au/profession/primary-health-care-nurses-day #PHCNday 

Today APNA President Karen Booth, APNA CEO Ken Griffin and three PHC nurses are meeting with Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler, Assistant Health and Aged Care Minister Ged Kearney, Assistant Rural and Regional Health Minister Emma McBride, and other significant ministers and politicians, to acknowledge Primary Health Care Nurses Day, the essential work that PHC nurses do and discuss the barriers preventing them from working to their full scope of practice.  

 

About APNA’s Workforce Survey 

The APNA Workforce Survey is the only national survey focusing exclusively on the 96,000 nurses who work in primary health care around Australia. The survey recorded ~3500 responses in 2023. More: https://www.apna.asn.au/hub/APNA-workforce-survey 

 

NOTES FOR MEDIA  

Back in 2022 APNA’s Workforce Survey showed that nurses are not doing the work they want to do to keep Australians healthy: 

  • 67% of PHC nurses irregularly or never do women's health checks, despite 34% wanting to do more 
  • 62% of PHC nurses irregularly or never do cancer screening, despite 28% wanting to do more 

 

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.


© Copyright 2024 Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA). All rights reserved. MRM by Bond Software.

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