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Advances in Contemporary General Practice Nursing
Role of the practice nurse
Significant discussion and debate in contemporary health care systems focuses on workforce issues, particularly addressing the shortage of personnel and the access scope, setting and models of practice of health care workers. Although the popular media portray the acute hospital setting as the chief place of nursing practice and health care delivery, we are all well aware that this highly technological milieu is neither appropriate nor effective in managing chronic conditions and more importantly promoting self-management to empower individuals and communities to prevent disease.
Although the community setting has long been recognised as an appropriate and effective setting for health care delivery, the general practice setting in Australia has only in recent times attracted attention from policy and professional bodies. As health professionals, researchers and policy makers strive to develop models of care that are less reactive and more appropriate to preventing, rather that treating disease and managing chronic conditions, the general practice setting is a logical and appropriate choice to promote interdisciplinary practice. In Australia, the general practice setting is the major provider of health care services. It is inevitable that nurses will provide an increasingly important role in this setting, particularly with the increasing burden of chronic conditions. In order to develop models of practice that are complementary and not competitive and more importantly acceptable to the Australian community we need to undertake scholarly debate.
This Special Edition of Contemporary Nurse Advances in Contemporary General Practice Nursing: Role of the Practice Nurse, provides an opportunity to undertake this discussion and debate. This Special Edition explores the role of nurses internationally in a range of primary health care settings in both independent and collaborative practice and also investigates regulatory and professional concerns.
Until recently the practice nurse role has been largely invisible in scholarly discussion and debate, particularly in the Australian setting. One could argue that, overall, community based health care has been the poor relation of their acute care colleagues for a range of prevailing social, economic and political factors.
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