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Empowering Nurse Practitioners, with Lesley Salem

14 Aug 2023

At this year’s CRANAplus Conference, proud Wonnarua woman and Nurse Practitioner (NP) Lesley Salem will shine a light on the challenges and opportunities facing the Nurse Practitioner workforce in remote Australia.

Proud Won­narua woman and Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er Les­ley Salem will be join­ing the line-up of inspir­ing keynote speak­ers for the 40th CRANAplus Con­fer­ence on 10 – 12 Octo­ber at the Cairns Con­ven­tion Centre. 

Les­ley is cur­rent­ly work­ing in pri­vate prac­tice as a gen­er­al­ist and chron­ic dis­ease Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er. Her nurs­ing is ded­i­cat­ed to improv­ing the health of those with chron­ic dis­ease in rur­al and remote Aus­tralian com­mu­ni­ties and inspired by her ded­i­ca­tion to improv­ing the health and well­be­ing of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander peo­ple and those with socio-eco­nom­ic disadvantages.

Over 20 years ago, Les­ley became Australia’s first Indige­nous Nurse Prac­ti­tion­er and in 2022, she was award­ed Mem­ber of the Order of Aus­tralia (AM) for her sig­nif­i­cant ser­vice to nurs­ing and to Indige­nous health. Nurse Prac­ti­tion­ers have the capac­i­ty, knowl­edge, and leg­isla­tive sup­port to begin increas­ing high-qual­i­ty care to clients in remote areas of Aus­tralia, Les­ley says.

There are, how­ev­er, ele­ments of leg­is­la­tion, law and access, and con­tin­u­ing prej­u­dice that pre­vent a NP from deliv­er­ing care to their full scope of prac­tice,” she says.

To be a sus­tain­able work­force with­in the remote con­text we need to remove bar­ri­ers that impede our profession.”

The cur­rent sys­tem… does not [always] allow the con­sumer, the peo­ple of Aus­tralia, to have a choice in who pro­vides aspects of their health care.

This is not safe prac­tice finan­cial­ly or for improved health out­comes… [and may] increase mor­tal­i­ty and mor­bid­i­ty and finan­cial risk to the patient.”

Post-grad­u­ate study for nurs­es is well-recog­nised, but post-qual­i­fi­ca­tion study for NPs is not nurs­ing-dri­ven, Les­ley adds.

Expand­ing a scope of prac­tice in a silo or generalist/​chronic dis­ease field is not avail­able or coor­di­nat­ed,” she says.

We par­tic­i­pate in many med­ical train­ing pro­grams instead. Con­sid­er­a­tion of expand­ing scope of prac­tice [also] needs to be a focus for NPs.”

You can hear Les­ley dis­cuss this top­ic in depth as a keynote speak­er at the 2023 CRANAplus Con­fer­ence this Octo­ber in Cairns. To find out more about the speak­ers and pro­gram, head to crana​con​fer​ence​.com