What exactly is a Nurse Practitioner?

With our island settling down after the school holidays, our kids are going back to school and the days are getting longer again. I have been asked by a number of people if I could re-explain the role of a Nurse Practitioner. This is an understandable request as we are a very new profession in Australia.

There are around 2000 of us in Australia compared to America or the UK where the numbers are in the 100000’s. In a nutshell, a Nurse Practitioner or NP is a registered nurse who has a primary focus and experience in a specific area. We have a minimum of a Master’s level of education in an Advanced Nursing practice course. We are then able to apply for a license to practice in our specific area. It’s quite a complex and time-consuming process.

What we end up with is the ability and authority to assess, diagnose, prescribe and write referrals/certificates/pathology and bill under the Medicare system.

My areas of endorsement are in primary health and in the older person.

What does all this mean?

Well, I can see and treat most people in our community, I work independently of a doctor but there are some things that I can’t do so by working with a doctor I am able to ensure all bases are covered. Dr Carol Head and I work together at Phillip Island Health, I also have the support of a Physician at Warragul Hospital.

My focus is on early intervention and health and wellness. This includes supporting people with their life choices and those requiring end of life care 

Being part of Phillip Island Health with Dr Carol is a dream come true for me and working from Phillip Island Sport & Rehab is a culmination of an idea discussed by Michael O’Connor and myself maybe 8 years ago. So being able to finally be there is a little surreal.

Our clinic is slowly growing which is exciting for all of us. Our hours are increasing; Dr Carol is now doing 2 half days and one full day and I am now seeing patients three half days each with a 7 am start for those who require a before work appointment or fasting blood tests and from this week I will also have appointments available on Monday evenings between 5:30 and 8pm. These are to assist with after school or after work needs of the community.

Appointments can be made with the book now button on Facebook or via our website www.phillipislandhealth.com.au or via the HotDoc App (this is a free download from your apple or android App Store).

We are very aware of the threat of COVID and to keep everyone safe we ask that if you have any symptoms of coronavirus such as fever or chills, cough, sore throat or runny nose you get tested at the Hub and stay at home. For other problems please book a tele-health consultation where possible. If you need to come to the clinic we will be checking your temperature and we will be wearing masks. Stay safe.

Published by drcarolhead

Dr. Carol Head is an General Practitioner with over 30 years experience in General Practice and Aboriginal health services. She has a keen interest in holistic medicine and combines her medical knowledge with her passion for writing. She is particularly interested in the body's ability to heal itself and has published two books: "Holistic Medicine" and "Tools for Transformation".

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