Building chronic disease management capacity in General Practice: The South Australian GP Plus Practice Nurse Initiative

Jeffrey Fuller, Kristy Koehne, Claire Verrall, Natalie Szabo, Chris Bollen, Sharon Parker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Aim: This paper draws on the implementation experience of the South Australian GP Plus Practice Nurse Initiative in order to establish what is needed to support the development of the chronic disease management role of practice nurses. Background: The Initiative was delivered between 2007 and 2010 to recruit, train and place 157 nurses across 147 General Practices in Adelaide. The purpose was to improve chronic disease management in General Practice, by equipping nurses to work as practice nurses who would coordinate care and establish chronic disease management systems. Method: Secondary analysis of qualitative data contained in the Initiative evaluation report, specifically drawing on quarterly project records and four focus groups conducted with practice nurses, practice nurse coordinators and practice nurse mentors. Findings: As evidenced by the need to increase the amount of support provided during the implementation of the Initiative, nurses new to General Practice faced challenges in their new role. Nurses described a big learning curve as they dealt with role transition to a new work environment and learning a range of new skills while developing chronic disease management systems. Informants valued the skills development and support offered by the Initiative, however the ongoing difficulties in implementing the role suggested that change is also needed at the level of the Practice. While just over a half of the placement positions were retained, practice nurses expressed concern with having to negotiate the conditions of their employment. Conclusion: In order to advance the role of practice nurses as managers of chronic disease support is needed at two levels. At one level support is needed to assist practice nurses to build their own skills. At the level of the Practice, and in the wider health workforce system, support is also needed to ensure that Practices are organisationally ready to include the practice nurse within the practice team.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-197
    Number of pages7
    JournalCollegian
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    Early online date2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

    Keywords

    • Care coordination
    • Chronic disease
    • Practice nurse

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