Maybe you haven’t thought in this direction. But what if someone stops you one day and asks this question to you? Though it is highly unlikely, still, what are you going to do? As a nursing student, you should be aware of which is the peak professional nursing organisation and why is it important for you to know about it.
Kids, we are going to talk about Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, also called as APNA.
Professional bodies for nursing education
There are a number of organisations who are charged with professional development of the nurses in Australia. The role of these organisations is not only limited to the education but to instil the nursing roles and competency as a part of the lives of the students. For that, a number of professional bodies have been appointed.
They are –
- Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
- Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
- Australian College of Nursing
- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
- Australian Refugee Health Practice Guide
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Australian Wound Management Association
These bodies are the highest authority in Australia who are responsible for the nursing education to the students. You might be studying a nursing course at the Monash University but the program has been approved by either of these 8 nursing education professional bodies.
And out of these, which one is the peak professional nursing organisation? Well, the one which has been given the peak position in this list. Yes, the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association which is also called APNA for short.
What does Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association do?
They are the peak professional body for all the nurses who are employed or want to be employed in the primary health care sector. And it is not I who is saying this just out of the blue. No, sir. This is what is written in the annual report published in 2017 by Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association.
Now, if you do not know what primary health care is, it would be wise that I discuss that first. One step at a time, right?
Primary health care as defined by APNA
Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association has defined what is primary health care. And they should be seeing that they are the highest authority for the primary health care in Australia. Anyway, so what do they say about primary health care?
According to these guys, the “primary health care is the first level of contact that individuals, families and communities have with the healthcare system”. What does this signify?
The organisation defines that the primary healthcare should satisfy several short term goals and objectives which are –
- Developing personal care with health promotion
- Preventing any illness
- To develop a community with respect to health conditions
- Interconnecting standards of value, access, strengthening and community self-assurance
- Is aware of what are the social, political, cultural and economic determinants of health
What are the characteristics of the primary health care provided by nurses?
The nurses work in the scope of practice. Thus, every single thing that they do should have a logical and valid reason behind the scenes. Therefore, the primary health care provided by the nurses in Australia should be –
- Socially appropriate
- Scientifically sound
- Universally acceptable
Why, you must be wondering?
If the nursing care is not socially appropriate, you are violating a nursing ethic by not providing health care to each and every individual irrespective of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity and colour of skin.
If the nursing practice is not scientifically sound, you might take some decisions in the clinical situation whose severe consequences are not known. Doing that can bring harm to the patient and maybe can lead to their death. You don’t want a patient dying on your watch, do you?
The last, universally acceptable, is also important. What if you get an opportunity to work with WHO and are deployed to a remote area in some country in South Africa? Your health care practice should be accepted everywhere and should meet the basic requirements of everywhere. Yes, that includes giving first-aid.
What are the various settings that primary health care nurses can work in?
The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association have classified the working conditions of the nurses into various segments. These include –
- Community healthcare centres
- General practice
- Residential aged care, boarding houses and other domiciliary settings
- Primary school, secondary schools, vocational education and other educational settings
- Occupational settings like hospital and clinics
- Informal and structured settings like community groups
APNA has listed out several roles of primary health care nurse
The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association follows a model which says that the role of a nurse should be such that their work include the following –
- Treatment and care of sick people
- Health promotion
- Policy development and advocacy
- Child and family health nursing
- Rehabilitation and palliation
- Population and public health
- Antenatal and postnatal care
- Education and research
- Illness prevention
- Community development
Other than that, there are several other roles that the primary health care nurses can take up. These are –
Agent of connectivity
Phillips CB, Pearce CM, Dwan KM, Hall S, Porritt J, Yates R, Kljakovic M, Sibbald B. Charting new roles for Australian general practice nurses: Abridged report of the Australian General Practice Nurses Study. Canberra: Australian Primary Health Care Institute, 2008. Available from aphcri.anu.edu.au and www.apna.asn.au.
How can we improve the nurse clinics?
There are several building blocks of any nurse clinic and working towards them can aid you in enhancing the nurse clinics. Working on the following components of the primary health care setting can improve the setting –
Having a clear plan
You should identify the opportunities where you can impart a health setting
- Create a plan for how will you do that
- Identify what are your aims and objectives
- Study clinic models to choose the best one for you
Funds are needed so that you can rent a physical place for your clinic
- You also need money so that you can buy various equipments for use
The place where you are planning to open your clinic has to be carefully chosen
- Also, you need to see that your clinic is accessible by the people easily
Prepare detailed clinical guidelines that you are going to follow
- Keep the focus of the practice on evidence based care
You will design and create human resource policies
- Work as a team towards one common goal
- Create professional relationship with the patients to give critical care
There are other block as well but let us just remember these ones for the time being, okay?
How to handle your primary health care assignments?
APNA is the peak professional nursing organisation and you must be extremely well at what you do to be able to give primary health care as specified by them. That is why you should focus on developing your skills and competencies as you go through the course.
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