Registered nurses as members of interprofessional primary health care teams in remote or isolated areas of Queensland: Collaboration, communication and partnerships in practice
Nurses represent the largest occupational group of health care professionals in Australia. The ratio of nurses to population is relatively consistent, unlike other health care professional groups (including medical doctors and allied health staff) whose numbers decline as population density and distance from metropolitan areas increases. Nurses working in areas where other health care professionals are limited or absent have expanded scopes of practice with their work being more generalist than specialist. The role of nurses in remote and isolated areas of Queensland, Australia was the focus of a commissioned multi-case research project. Findings reported in this paper relate to the position of registered nurses as part of an interprofessional team. These findings indicated that, in some instances, local health care teams were limited to a single nurse and Indigenous health care worker/s, while in others the teams were more diverse. In all cases collegial support was available either locally or via telecommunication technology. Understanding the role of each team member, having useful strategies to enhance communication and work collaboratively were identified as essential criteria for "good practice".
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20594068