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Nurse practitioners are an integral part of primary care

Published 27 October 2023

Nurses can now upskill with new scholarships to help shape patient-centred health care in North Queensland

Nurses working in Northern Queensland can now apply for a new scholarship that will help them upskill to become NPs.

In the dynamic landscape of primary health care, nurse practitioners (NPs) stand out as integral team members by providing timely and appropriate access to care, while advancing patient-centred care.  

Nurses working in the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) region, who are interested in progressing their skills and career, can now apply for a new scholarship that will help nurses upskill to become NPs. 

This article explains the pivotal role NPs fulfill and information on how nurses can upskill. 

What is a nurse practitioner? 

In 2021, the number of endorsed NPs nationally was 2,200, of which 1,549 were employed as NPs. 

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a Registered Nurse with the experience, expertise, and authority to diagnose and treat people of all ages with a variety of acute or chronic health conditions.  

NPs have completed additional university study at master’s degree level and are the most senior and independent clinical nurses in the health care system.  

The title “nurse practitioner” can only be used by a person who has been endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). 

NPs work in primary care settings, hospitals, RACFs, and other health facilities, working as key members of the healthcare team and collaborating with other nurses and healthcare professionals - including GPs, medical and surgical specialists, physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists, social workers, and many others. 

Did you know, nurse practitioners:  

  • have practised in Australia for more than 21 years 

  • provide health care in all states and territories of Australia 

  • can provide patient rebates through Medicare 

  • provide prescriptions and access to pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) medicines 

  • can refer patients to hospitals and specialists 

  • can order X-rays and diagnostic tests 

  • are registered with the NMBA.   

What is an aged care nurse practitioner? 

An aged care nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse practitioner with a specialty in older persons' health and generally treats people over the age of 50 residing in a Residential Aged Care Home (RACH). 

Aged care NPs conduct scheduled acute ‘ward’ rounds to all eligible and referred patients, including chart medication reviews, and provide inpatients and community clients who have been discharged with follow-up care in their residence three, 21, and 28 days post-discharge.  

They also provide primary health care support, for example, chronic disease care planning, as requested by the patient’s GP. 

Submit your interest in nurse upskilling opportunities  

By submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) you are registering your application for the scholarship and are not guaranteed a scholarship or direct admission into the Master of Nurse Practitioner program. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria, both NQPHN and QUT will contact you with further instructions and information. 

Submit your expression of interest here for the Graduate Certificate (Primary Health Care) (NS32) or Master of Nurse Practitioner (NS90).  

More information for nurses 

More information about nurse practitioners can be found here, while information on how to become a nurse practitioner is available here

Last updated: 06 November 2023