A clear plan

Prove the benefits and identify your goals

On this page:

  • Show how your clinic fits with the health needs of your community

  • Determine your ‘big picture’ aims and specific goals

  • See how to create a compelling business case

Identifying the opportunities for a nurse clinic

As with any business, the first step is to understand the specific need for your service. For nurse clinics, this could mean:

  • Creating a community profile

    • How many people are in the community?
    • What are their demographics (e.g. age, ethnicity)?
    • What is the socio-economic profile (e.g. economic hardship, employment opportunities, education concerns, crime, children at risk, etc.)?
    • What are the community’s health needs?
    • What health services currently exist?
  • Identifying a target group

    • Based on your community profile, who is your target group?
    • What issues have you identified for this particular group (e.g. access to services)?

 See how the nurse clinic case studies developed plans for their clinic models

Articulating patient need and community benefit makes it easier to respond to issues and make critical decisions throughout the planning process.

“There's evidence [in] Australia and International that there is a gap in [dementia] care. So there's evidence supporting the need for such work.” 

“There was a real spat of youth suicide and [we] just felt like we had the potential to help…It felt like we were just standing back and watching this happen and not doing anything about it.”

Read Understanding your community’s health needs for more information

Aims and goals of your clinic

Articulating the aims of your nurse clinic provides an opportunity to consider exactly what it is you are seeking to change, which will guide you, keep you focused and motivate your team. Think of it as your clinic’s ‘mission statement’; keep your aims ‘big picture’ but make sure they’re meaningful to your specific clinic.

The next level of detail is to spell out some more practical goals. Your goals might cover both the project of setting up the clinic (e.g. key dates for having staff recruited, establishing funding sources, clinic opening date, or patient throughput targets), and the health care outcomes for your community.

Effective goals are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-limited. Keep this in mind when creating your goals and you’ll have a much better chance of success.

"Increase by 50% from baseline, the % of male prisoners aged 35-49 attending the clinic for health prevention screening activities, by March 2017", Mens Health and Wellbeing Clinic, Correct Care

"Our goal is to increase by 20%  the number of patients with complex wounds accessing best practice, evidence based wound care services at Junction Place Medical Centre, within 12 months of operation, 1st June 2017", Wound Clinic, Junction Place Medical Centre

 Read Define your goal and develop a SMART goal 

Clinic models of care

A “model of care” defines the way health services are delivered and should be based on patient or community need. A model of care needs to be evidence based, with a patient centred approach to care delivery, focusing on delivering the right care to the right person, at the right place and time. Read more about developing a model of care here

Depending on your clinic’s health focus, your model of care should consider:

  • the available evidence base for deciding on the model of care
  • the process for delivering a systematic, planned approach to care
  • building a team-based approach to care
  • the type of patient support, education and follow-up processes to be provided
  • engaging with community resources and services, and
  • approaches to evaluating the clinic model.

 Find out about evaluation and improvement 

Creating the business case 

Writing a business case is essential for demonstrating the viability of your clinic, ensuring you haven’t missed anything vital, and also for attracting funding and appropriate staff. It sounds intimidating, but – with the opportunity, aims and goals, and the model of care decided – you’re already halfway there.

A business case includes information on the financial viability of your clinic, as well as important background on the purpose of the clinic, and some detail about the day-to-day operations, including:

  • delivering safer care
  • meeting accreditation standards
  • achieving evidence-based clinical standards
  • improving population health outcomes, and
  • better use of staff skills (nurses working to the full extent of their scope of practice).

Carve out some clear time to work on the business plan. If you’ve already got people on-board, share the duties (this is also a great way to double-check that everyone’s thinking along the same lines).

 Building the business case for a nurse clinic is APNA’s guide to making a business plan. 

 Use the Business case template



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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