Monitoring nursing trends: APNA workforce survey 2017

Each year APNA undertakes an annual workforce survey through which we intend to understand our members’ view and what it’s like to be a primary health care nurse. This year we heard from 1,073 primary health care nurses across Australia. Here is a snapshot of what they told us. 

High levels of job satisfaction

Over 80% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with their current role and intend to continue with a nursing or midwifery career in primary health care for the foreseeable future. 

Some of the most satisfying aspects of working as a primary health care nurse were reported as: 

  • The provision of care to patients and their families including continuity of care
  • Contributing to patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes
  • Collaboration and effective team-based care 
  • Being a valued member of the primary health care team by staff and patients

Primary health care nurses could be better utilised in the workplace

Many respondents felt that their education, training and qualifications are not used to the full extent in their current role. Approximately 231 respondents (29%) felt they could do more and 87 (11%) respondents indicated that most of the time they don’t get to use their knowledge and skills to the full extent. 

Less than half of the respondents (390 out of a total of 807) suggested to their employer or manager that they could undertake more complex clinical activities or extend their role in the workplace within their scope of practice. 

When respondents suggested to their employer or managers that they could do more complex activities within their scope of practice, less than half (186 out of 390) were able to negotiate more complex tasks or extended roles. A number of common reasons for the lack of change to more complex tasks or extended roles included lack of support by the broader healthcare team and financial and resourcing challenges.






Working conditions

Lack of time and financial remuneration were the most commonly reported factors impacting on respondents’ ability to carry out their roles. Over 400 respondents out of 793 (approximately 50%) did not have or were not sure if they had a formal and documented appraisal of their work performance in the last two years. 

230 responses out of 732 (31% of respondents) have never been offered a pay increase. 

Source: Primary Times Summer 2017: (Volume 17, Issue 4)

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.

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