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ACN board vice-president professor Christine Duffield, ACN board president adjunct professor Kathy Baker, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ACN chief executive adjunct professor Kylie Ward. Photo: ACN.

Nurses must be heard in policy debates: white paper

Nursing is not being used to its potential, leaving the door open to reform that does not reflect the realities of providing healthcare and aged care, a white paper from the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) has warned.

Nurses are Essential in Health and Aged Care Reform was launched in Canberra last week. It outlines the contribution nurses make in leading healthcare and aged care, and the importance of a strong nursing voice in achieving sustainable and person‐centred reform.

The paper calls on Australian governments to engage with ACN and the nursing profession to ensure nurses are represented at all levels of health and aged-care reform.

“Engaging nurses in the health and aged-care reform agenda is critically important to ensure that it reflects the practical realities of providing health and aged care,” the white paper stated. “Nurses, therefore, must be key leaders in discussions that set standards and determine models of care. The nursing profession is ideally placed to enact the health and aged-care reforms needed for a more integrated, contemporary and sustainable health and aged-care system.”

Moving forward, ACN would like Australian governments to work closely with the college in health and aged care reform to:

  • recognise the nursing profession’s role
  • invest in policy platforms that enable the full participation of the nursing profession
  • ensure the nursing voice is heard in strategic policy debates and reform developments
  • recognise the value of nurse-led innovation
  • support nurses in working to their full scope, and expanded scope where necessary
  • acknowledge the pivotal role of nurses in setting standards of care.

Nursing Review sat down with adjunct professor Kylie Ward, chief executive of ACN, to discuss the white paper.

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One comment

  1. Finally and hopefully nurses are going to have a voice.
    For many years I tried to use my voice to try and get those that I worked for, to understand, that although there’s is not an endless supply of money, it is very difficult to to assume patients can be categorised into needing the same amount of care if they have the same diagnosis. I understood that, some patients may not require as much acute care as the next patient with the same diagnosis but, what was never taken into account was the many hours some needed with their emotional needs or similar. I always felt as though I was knocking my head against a brick wall.
    I also tried for an understanding that, we were the ones with the patient 24/7 and therefore were the ones with the greatest knowledge of all things that were for the good of the patients.
    To know that finally, someone might actually be listening is quite astonishing. Thank you

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