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Laura Black, NP from WA's Wheatbelt, receives 2023 CRANAplus Excellence in Remote and Isolated Health Practice award

12 Dec 2023

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.

The 2023 Excel­lence in Remote and Iso­lat­ed Health Prac­tice Award was spon­sored by James Cook University/​Murtupuni Cen­tre for Rur­al & Remote Health.

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.