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Will APN and NPs transform the nursing industry?

28 August 2016

Increasing pressure is mounting on the Australian healthcare system, which is subsequently driving change in the field of nursing. With the advent of new technology and more complex medical conditions, there is a growing need for more highly-trained nurses, advanced practice nurses (APNs) and nurse leaders.

With more APNs and nurse practitioners (NPs) in hospitals and healthcare facilities, the sector will undoubtedly see an increase in effective delivery and cost of care. Dr. Kirsten Puls points out in her whitepaper Trends of the future: Growing challenges and new technologies changing the face of nursing that a review of studies conducted over 18 years found APNs reduce hospitalisation time and cost, and have been shown to give equal or better care than general practitioners (GPs) at less expense.

This discovery comes as a shortage of GPs has led to an increase of NPs with Master’s qualifications. Extending the role of nurses gives more patients better access to healthcare practitioners and higher levels of care.

Changing demographics

This has intensified the need for highly-qualified nurses. The treatment of chronic illnesses and more complex conditions requires NPs and APNs to coach patients and other nurses in how to manage their conditions from home. Nurses and even midwives are also needed in specialist roles as clinicians, anaesthetists and researchers.

In 2015, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that nurses are administering more than 65% of anaesthetics, with many taking on new leadership roles.

Emerging fields

Nurses with Master’s degrees will be particularly useful in emerging disciplines, like genomics and informatics. They can assist in guiding the translation of research into practice and help staff prepare for personalised medicine approaches. The advanced knowledge of new treatments and technology adds to the patient experience, allowing for better care and higher mortality rates.

Looking to the future

As we see more nurse leaders emerge within the industry, we will also notice the increase in positive work cultures, which foster learning. Staff will be empowered and are able to utilise their expertise for the best possible outcomes.

New courses, such as the Master of Healthcare Leadership through SCU Online, encourages this type of behaviour in the workplace and gives students the tools they need to be transformational, effective leaders.

If you’ve ever considered postgraduate study in healthcare leadership to help you progress in your nursing career, speak to one of our friendly Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 589 882.  

Research for this blog has been compiled from the white paper ‘Trends of the future: Growing challenges and new technologies changing the face of nursing’, written by Dr. Kirsten Puls.