General practice nurses’ roles not being fulfilled

THE Government’s proposed practice nurse incentive will have little impact on the use of practice nurses in general practice, unless there is a cultural shift away from traditional beliefs about their role, new research has found.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Australian National University and Melbourne East General Practice Network, found practice nurses were not being used to their full potential due to hierarchical structures in general practice.

The three-year study of 25 general practices revealed that despite MBS rebates being available to practice nurses, only 6% of nurse activities generated such a fee. 

Melbourne GP and lead author Dr Chris Pearce said while funding models were important in ensuring the nurses were being used to their greatest potential, the most vital requirement was a cultural shift in the way they were viewed by practices.

“One of the things we found was that there were lots of