Nurse practitioners are highly skilled autonomous health professionals who have advanced education, clinical training and demonstrated competency. They have the legal authority to practice beyond the level of a registered nurse.
Nurse practitioners in mental health combine their advanced nursing knowledge and skills with diagnostic reasoning and therapeutic knowledge with a similar scope of service as a psychiatrist. They provide an extended scope of practice by combining medical and nursing models of care for people with both common and complex mental health problems.
Jill Clendon on the Importance of Nurse Practitioners
Nurse Practitioners are highly skilled and experienced clinicians.
So even before you become a nurse practitioner, you have to have at least four years of clinical experience, you have to then complete a clinical masters degree.
So these guys know what they're doing.
They can diagnose your needs, they can order tests, they can prescribe your medicines, they can treat you.
But the great thing about nurse practitioners is that they bring all of those nursing skills with them as well.
So they're all registered nurses before they become Nurse practitioners...so you get that real combination of skill, experience, knowledge, all of the things that people need to see.
The other neat thing about nurse practitioners is that they're really meeting the needs of high needs communities - in particular our rural and remote communities, people with extra particular needs, so that might be people on low incomes who have high social needs.
So nurse practitioners are able to manage and deal with the issues that those population groups are presenting with, really quickly, really effectively.
The evidence is unequivocal - they're providing really, really good care.
At the moment, over 50 percent of our nurse practitioners are working in primary health care or community settings, so you're more likely to see them, you might see one instead of seeing your general practitioner, you might see one in aged and residential care, which is where we're seeing some fantastic outcomes for older people who are seeing nurse practitioners in the community; you might well also see them in hospitals - so some of them have very specialised areas, we have neonatal practitioners as well.
But what we will see over time is a real shift to community focus, so we will see nurse practitioners in the community and chances are, when you make an appointment down at your general practice, you may well be making an appointment to see a nurse practitioner rather than a general practitioner.