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Improving outcomes in remote Australia

A masters program to train specialist nursing practitioners for remote and indigenous communities has been launched in central Australia. 

The Alice Springs based Centre for Remote Health (CRH), co-funded by Charles Darwin University and Flinders University, has launched the master of remote health practice: nurse practitioner program that will deliver speciality nurse practitioners to work in remote and Aboriginal health in Australia.

Developed in collaboration with the Council for Remote Area Nurses Australia (CRANAplus), the nurse practitioner program has received full accreditation from the NT Nursing and Midwifery Board for five years.

“People in remote and outback areas of Australia depend heavily on nurses for their health care, and nurse practitioners will play a vital leadership role into the future,” says Sabina Knight, CRH associate professor.

She says legislation was before Parliament to enable Medicare to reimburse nurse practitioner services and this would improve equity for people accessing the services.

“Western Australia has designated every remote town and community nurse practitioner sites and we expect the Northern Territory to similarly utilise nurse practitioners.’

CRH academics provide education for remote practitioners in Broome, Darwin and Alice Springs and offer short courses in Katherine, Umuwa in far north South Australia and Warburton in far east Western Australia.

The centre began postgraduate programs for remote health practitioners when it was established more than 10 years ago.

CRH Director Professor John Walkerman says the course was a major milestone for the organisation and would improve health outcomes in remote Australia.

“This program has been carefully designed for our context in collaboration with CRANAplus, and will be delivered by leading academics and professionals in remote health and nurse practitioner practice,” he says.

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