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 Practitioner scope of practice is an extension of the Registered Nurse platform. Nurse Practitioners may also have prescribing rights and the right to authorise pathology tests. This permits patients to receive timely interventions when a doctor is not available and may reduce hospital transfers.
Palliative care in aged care 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 in the Australian setting. 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 was an Australian Government initiative to introduce nurse practitioners to aged care. The project began in December 2011, and after four years the evaluation study (3.12MB pdf) demonstrated positive outcomes associated with NP activity.