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Report on NPNZ Conference, April 2017
on 5 May
Mark Baldwin, Chair NPNZ, at NPNZ Conference April 2017
NZ Nurse Practitioner numbers soar at last !!!
“There used to be too few to matter, now there are too many NPs to ignore …” Mark Baldwin NPNZ Chairperson.
A leap in Nurse Practitioners gaining registration in NZ was met with much excitement over the weekend at the bi-annual Nurse Practitioners New Zealand [NPNZ] Conference Cluster held in Wellington, 28-29 April.
A total of 247 NPs are now registered as of end of March 2017 - a whopping 77 new NPs have been approved in just the last financial year by New Zealand Nursing Council. Half of all NPs work in Primary Health Care and generally work with patients and populations who are the most vulnerable patients due to their complex health needs, geographical isolation and/or socio-economic deprivation.
NPs work with all population groups throughout NZ - providing expert care from Neonates to ‘End of Life’. NPs hold a Clinical Master’s Degree, are expert clinicians and nurse leaders in their chosen fields.
In true NP style the delegates were unflappable as they were evacuated from the conference venue during Friday's presentations to wait in the rain & wind until the all clear was given by the Fire Service. Presentations then continued after everyone had received a dose of Wellington ‘juzhing’.
NP bracing Wellington weather as NPNZ conference
evacuated for fire alarm
The conference was well attended both days by more than 100 NPs from all over NZ. A wide range of high calibre prescribing topics and case studies relating to; Emergency Room Care, Older Persons, Primary Care, Emergency Rural, Managing Medications in Civil Defence situation, Mental Health, High Dependency Adult, Palliative Care, and Managing an NP Owned PHC Practice, were all given by NP speakers to a very intent audience.
Technology and research regarding safety and quality improvements in prescribing was discussed in presentations by NZ Formulary, NZ e Prescriptions, and research into the prescribing habits and ‘top 10’ medications of 129 Primary Health Care NP’s who wrote 343,000 prescriptions over 2yrs proved benchmarking medication selection as on par with GP prescribing.
NZ Nursing Council [NZNC] gave an update on new NP regulations which will broaden the NP scope of practice and new pathways which will make for more streamlined and NP specific education and credentialing. Frustratingly, ‘Fast track’ funding to support new NP interns is still pending after an exceptionally successful pilot in 2016 which saw 30 intern NPs progress through university study, clinical mentorship and training to prepare them for NP application with NZNC.
Health Workforce NZ funding for Post Graduate nursing education is hugely inequitable compared to similar level medical training. Nursing training funding is more important than ever with the introduction of Registered Nurse Prescribing, and the required supervision by an NP.
The Office of the Chief Nurse spoke of subsequent legislative changes to the ‘Medical Practitioners Act’ since the passing of the Omnibus Bill in Nov 2016, which will enable NPs to further provide improved access to areas of care for the populations they work that used to be the sole domain of a Doctor; such as drivers licencing and death certification. The MoH’s reviewed Health Strategy and NZ’s identified growing ‘Neuropscyhogenic’ health needs are an immediate focus with NZ’s rapidly aging population - raising the need for increased early intervention and Mental Health NPs.
Di Williams NP
NPNZ Exec member
Jane Jeffcoat, Past Chair NPNZ, congratulates Pam Doole, NCNZ for her tireless efforts working with the NP scope and prescribing.