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Outreach Services to Rural and Remote Communities

The Australian College of Nurse Practitioners is proud to showcase how Nurse Practitioners are changing the face of healthcare.  Below is a vignette which demonstrates how we improve outreach services to rural and remote communities:

Debra Bourne, Nurse Practitioner – Rural and Remote

I was endorsed as a rural and remote nurse practitioner in 2007, and since then have worked full- time with a health service provider in Seymour, a small town in rural Victoria.

My nurse practitioner (NP) role predominately fits within the Urgent Care Department of Seymour’s only hospital where I see all patient presentations - regardless of the severity or type of illness or injury.  Like many small rural hospitals there are no on-site medical staff.

Having an NP in a small rural community has allowed patients to have access to timely, safe and effective care in a time of need.  My role extends out to the remainder of the hospital and the co-located aged care facility to provide immediate care for the unwell patient or resident.  Due to the value of the services I provide to the hospital and community, the health service has hired a second endorsed nurse practitioner, further expanding the NP role and its value within the health service.

Warracknabeal, a smaller rural town  in Victoria, saw every third weekend left without medical coverage due to the fact that there were only two GPs in this small country town.  In order to provide assistance and greater weekend coverage for health concerns in this community, in 2010 I began travelling every third weekend to Warracknabeal to be on call and provide care for all patients presenting to the hospital’s Urgent Care Department.  I also  provide all inpatient care at the hospital and for any residents in the aged care facility requiring assessment or therapeutic intervention on these weekends.  Having NP coverage on these weekends ensures that the community receives health care in the town that they live in.

In 2013 a local nurse trained and became endorsed as an NP, further supporting the hospital to provide timely care for the members of her community.  We continue to support each other, and the community we work for.

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