The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says Nurse Practitioner Week (12-18 December) is an opportunity for us all to celebrate and appreciate the crucial role Nurse Practitioners (NP) play in delivering quality care and improving health outcomes across Australian communities.
NPs are senior clinical nurses with advanced qualifications and extensive experience and expertise, who can practice in all areas and sectors of healthcare, diagnose and treat a variety of health-related conditions, prescribe medications and order and interpret pathology and radiology tests.
The first NPs were endorsed in Australia almost 20 years ago. There are now 2,500 NPs in Australia. 
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said this year’s Nurse Practitioner theme of ‘Nurse Practitioners, the essential difference in healthcare’, was particularly relevant given not only the contribution NPs currently make to our health and aged care systems but the potential they have to increase their contribution to improving the health of our communities. NPs could play a critical role in relieving the current pressures on health systems around the country.
“We need to substantially increase the numbers of NPs across Australia and expand the role of NPs by allowing them to work to their full scope across the health system, without the barriers that currently hinder the delivery of care. That will certainly make a significant difference to everyday health outcomes across the community,” Ms Butler said.
“We’ve seen already how nurse-led, walk-in clinics have successfully enabled members of the community to be provided with safe, quality care, without the need to wait in overcrowded EDs and in rural and remote areas of the country where there continues to be a dire shortage of health professionals. We need to continue to expand these sorts of models.”
Palliative Care NP Juliane Samara works across 29 aged care aged facilities in the ACT.
“We are not a replacement workforce. We don’t replace doctors, we never want to replace doctors. We want to work as multidisciplinary teams. Nurses do that inherently and we do it well,” she said.
ANMF media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.
 The Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP)
You'll automatically become a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation