The vital role nurse practitioners play in Australia’s healthcare future
Nurse practitioners are among the most qualified and skilled healthcare professionals in the industry
Since July 2023, we've taken a significant step forward in the way we provide healthcare by introducing nurse practitioners to conduct consultations with our patients, both synchronously over the phone and asynchronously through text. This innovative approach has proven to be the right move for our patients, for the four reasons below.
1. Broader support of more practitioners on our platform
We’re excited to broaden our range of practitioners to support our patients' experience with our NPs working alongside our doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dietitians to deliver a comprehensive continuity of care. We believe in the value of NPs to help deliver on our mission of breaking down the barriers to better healthcare and treating complex, chronic conditions.
2. Nurse practitioners are highly qualified & highly skilled
Nurse practitioners are among the most qualified and skilled healthcare professionals in the industry. According to the NSW Health Department, international evidence consistently demonstrates that care provided by nurse practitioners is equivalent to or better than that delivered by doctors, with the added benefit of increased patient satisfaction.
To become a nurse practitioner, these dedicated professionals typically accumulate around 10-15 years of experience and undergo around eight years of rigorous education and training. Importantly, nurse practitioners in Australia can independently prescribe medication, putting them in the same category as doctors and select other healthcare providers. In fact, nurse prescribing has been allowed in Australia since 2001 and is also common practice in countries like the UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada, and many more.
In the 2021-22 period alone, Australian nurse practitioners provided over 860,000 instances of Medicare-subsidised care, showcasing their invaluable role in our healthcare system.
3. Clinicians should practise at the top of their scope
Eucalyptus is committed to creating a safe environment where healthcare practitioners can operate at the peak of their capabilities. As Federal Health Minister Mark Butler has emphasised, in a global health workforce shortage, it is crucial that every healthcare professional operates as close to the top of their scope as possible.
Australia has recognised the need to make the most of the skills within the primary care workforce, as highlighted by the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report. As a result, the Federal Government has initiated a review into the broader health workforce, considering additional prescribing rights for nurses and pharmacists. Additionally, efforts are underway to boost the number of nurse practitioners throughout Australia.
At Eucalyptus, our nurse practitioners collaborate closely with our diverse team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, registered nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, and mental health nurses. This collaborative approach ensures that our patient/s receive comprehensive and holistic care that addresses all their healthcare needs. Eucalyptus’s collaborative environment also presents development opportunities for the nurse practitioners themselves, as they can learn from each other as well as from our team of doctors who are Fellows of the RACGP.
4. Nurse practitioners are closely aligned to Euc’s values
By incorporating nurse practitioners into our team, we're pioneering a future where we are continuing to drive better patient outcomes with qualified, skilled professionals who are dedicated to delivering high-touch patient care. Two of the nurse practitioners who work on the Eucalyptus platform illustrate this approach to patient wellbeing.
Sigrid completed her nurse practitioner course in 2020 at the University of Melbourne after working for over 8 years as a nurse. Sigrid set up and works in her own private practice a few days a week. She recently moved to rural Victoria and noticed the lack of opportunities available for NPs — this is what led her to Eucalyptus. Offering timely access to healthcare from the convenience of your own home benefited everyone, especially those living in rural and remote areas. With the added bonus of working from home and the supportive environment at Euc, Sigrid believes it is a great place for NPs to work.
Jarrod has been a nurse for 20 years now, having worked in both metropolitan and rural locations, across areas including primary care, stroke, emergency, intensive care and education, working with both adults and children. He completed a bachelor degree in nursing and post graduate degrees in emergency and intensive care nursing then finally a masters in advanced nursing practice to become a nurse practitioner.
He has also completed a bachelor degree in paramedicine and worked as an advanced life support paramedic for 13 years while concurrently nursing. After COVID, Jarrod felt a need to move away from traditional hospital acute based care and sought an environment that provided a real impact to patients in a less acute but similarly impactful environment. This is ultimately what led him to work at Eucalyptus.
Head of Risk and Safety
About the contributors
Angus Wood, Head of Risk and Safety