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Laura Black, NP from WA's Wheatbelt, receives 2023 CRANAplus Excellence in Remote and Isolated Health Practice award
Laura Black, Nurse Practitioner from the tiny town of Moorine Rock in the West Australian Wheatbelt, is the 2023 recipient of the CRANAplus Excellence in Remote and Isolated Health Practice award.
Laura has been working as a Nurse Practitioner for more than a decade. She was the first primary health Nurse Practitioner in WA at a time when NPs were more often employed in hospitals, particularly in Emergency Departments.
She currently has three jobs. One day a week, she works in Westonia 45 minutes from home, where she runs a clinic that is visited by a GP every six weeks. In this role she also undertakes home visits and provides telephone support to the community on the days she is not in town. She also works as a Registered Nurse at the Southern Cross Hospital, a 20-minute drive in the other direction. The third project she is involved in is research into the use of Artificial Intelligence to enable non-skilled people to undertake echocardiograms.
When she isn’t nursing, Laura and her partner run a wildlife sanctuary called Parnanapikurtu which loosely translates as ‘kangaroo place’ where they rescue and care for birds, reptiles, and kangaroos.
Laura has long advocated to local, state and federal government for increased funding to support healthcare delivery, particularly for Nurse Practitioner services in rural and remote areas she serves in WA.
She is a strong believer in the value of collaboration with GPs and has in the past worked more extensively with GPs in funded positions. She has not pursued self-employment because she values these collaborations and understands the community’s need for affordable healthcare.
“With the long waiting lists to see a GP, it is crucial that partnerships between GPs and NPs are encouraged in rural and remote settings.
It would certainly improve access to speedy healthcare delivery,” she says.
“NPs have done a Masters Degree, we have the education, the skills and the training, but so many of us are working as Registered Nurses.”
More Nurse Practitioners are working in communities in the primary health area than before, Laura says. She hopes this trend will continue and that NP services will be prioritised in areas with limited healthcare access and public transport, and long GP waitlists – including within the Wheatbelt.
Laura is grateful to receive the Excellence in Remote and Isolated Health Practice Award, which is her second this year after receiving the People’s Choice Award at the 2023 Rural Health West and WA Country Health Service Excellence Awards. However, with her skills and qualifications, she knows she could do more to help the community.
“If winning this award helps to promote the value of the Nurse Practitioner role, I’ll be very happy,” she says.
For more information on our awards and the nomination process visit CRANAplus Awards.