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Nurse Practitioners Welcomed By NZNO

18 May 2001

New Zealand's largest nursing organization, NZNO, with more than 27,000 members welcomes the announcement by Nursing Council of the advent of the nurse practitioner role.

NZNO believes this will offer nurses who want to remain in clinical practice other options and will encourage experienced nurses to remain in the profession. It offer opportunities to improve the health of New Zealanders and links closely to the objectives in the primary health care strategy.

The announcement has drawn some criticism from doctors' groups but NZNO sees the role as complementary to, and not in competition with, the health services already provided by doctors.

The role of nurse practitioner has been developing over the last few years and NZNO has been involved in this initiative.

NZNO has identified some barriers for nurses currently working at this level to achieve Nurse Practitioner status and have requested discussions with the Nursing Council of New Zealand about transitional arrangements and guidelines for the current nursing workforce.

*As clinical Masters programmes have not been available for many NZ nurses until recently, we believe it is neither fair nor practical, at this early stage, to expect all nurse practitioners to have a Masters degree*. There are many experienced nurses working in the way described within the Nurse Practitioner document who have completed advanced clinically focussed education programmes and have extended and in-depth knowledge and skills in their specific scope of practice. *It would not be fair on them or on the public to exclude them from this role*, NZNO's professional advisor Susanne Trim said.

NZNO is very mindful of the public*s expectation for safe delivery of health services and will be working with the Nursing Council for mechanisms that verify competency of nurses working at this advanced level of nursing practice.

"What is important is that any nurse practitioner practising in collaboration with doctors, or as an autonomous practitioner, can demonstrate competence, knowledge and expertise in their area of clinical practice," said Trim.


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