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Four female nurse practitioners standing side by side in front of the garden at the main entrance to Maryborough Hospital.

It’s Nurse Practitioner Week and Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) is acknowledging the special role nurse practitioners play in delivering the best of care to communities in the Central Goldfields and Pyrenees region.

MDHS Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Robyn Wilson said nurse practitioners provide an essential difference in healthcare, particularly in rural areas.

“Nurse practitioners are highly qualified nurses with the expertise to diagnose and treat people with a variety of acute or chronic conditions,” said Ms Wilson.

“They are driven by values of kindness, care, empathy, and a desire to help which brings so many positive outcomes for our patients, residents and their families.”

Maryborough District Health Service has three nurse practitioners working in the hospital, community and aged care setting, as well as an aspiring nurse practitioner who is undertaking postgraduate studies to qualify.

“Our nurse practitioners provide strong patient-focused and person-centred care. They are proud of the years of nursing experience they bring to their practice area, whether that be in hospital and emergency management, women’s health, aged care, drug and alcohol treatment or diabetes,” ” said Ms Wilson.

A nurse practitioner is endorsed after completing an approved Masters Degree and the equivalent of at least three years of practice in advanced nursing. Ongoing professional development is required each year to stay on top of national clinical standards.

As the most senior and independent clinical nurses in the healthcare system, nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, order and interpret pathology and radiology tests, initiate and receive referrals from health professionals, and can admit and treat patients in hospitals.

They provide strong communication and links with multidisciplinary teams to effectively manage and coordinate care, and provide health education to clients.

“With an aging population and high incidence of chronic health conditions in the region, the role our nurse practitioners play in connecting our community to great care is vital while helping to alleviate the pressures on the healthcare system,” said Ms Wilson.

“In addition to providing high standards of care, nurse practitioners work closely with local GPs to provide ongoing treatment, monitoring and input into care plans in their area of expertise.

“This model is the way of the future as it can help support the work and reduce demands on GPs, particularly in rural areas where there is a shortage of GPs and people often need to travel to access specialist care,” said Ms Wilson.

For more information about programs and services provided by MDHS Nurse Practitioners contact 03 5461 0333 or visit the MDHS Facebook page.