Nurse Practitioners have a minimum of a Masters level of education. They are endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) to practice as Nurse Practitioners in their speciality field. Nurse Practitioners may also have prescribing rights and the right to authorise pathology tests. This permits residents to receive timely interventions when a doctor is not available and may reduce hospital transfers.
Palliative care in RAC is now entering a new era where aged care providers are employing clinical nurse specialists (CNS) and nurse practitioners (NP) to deliver high level palliative care services.
These new services are developing and evolving and there is little published literature about them. The Joanna Briggs Institute has produced a review and a Best Practice sheet about Nurse Practitioners in residential aged care.
The Nurse Practitioner - Aged Care Models of Practice program is an Australian Government initiative to introduce nurse practitioners to aged care. The project began in December 2011, will run for 4 years and The University of Canberra will evaluate the program.