Nursing in a different world : Remote area nursing as a specialist–generalist practice area

Journal article


McCullough, Kylie, Bayes, Sara, Whitehead, Lisa, Williams, Anne and Cope, Vicki. (2022). Nursing in a different world : Remote area nursing as a specialist–generalist practice area. Australian Journal of Rural Health. 30(5), pp. 570-581. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajr.12899
AuthorsMcCullough, Kylie, Bayes, Sara, Whitehead, Lisa, Williams, Anne and Cope, Vicki
Abstract

Objective
Remote area nurses provide primary health care services to isolated communities across Australia. They manage acute health issues, chronic illness, health promotion and emergency responses. This article discusses why their generalist scope of practice should be formally recognised as a specialist nursing practice area.

Design
Constructivist grounded theory, using telephone interviews (n = 24) with registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

Setting
Primary health care clinics, in communities of 150–1500 residents across Australia.

Participants
A total of 24 nurses participated in this study.

Results
Nurses' perceived their clinical knowledge and skill as insufficient for the advanced, generalist, scope of practice in the remote context, especially when working alone. Experience in other settings was inadequate preparation for working in remote areas. Knowledge and skill developed on the job, with formal learning, such as nurse practitioner studies, extending the individual nurse's scope of practice to meet the expectations of the role, including health promotion.

Conclusion
Remote area nursing requires different knowledge and skills from those found in any other nursing practice setting. This study supports the claim that remote area nursing is a specialist–generalist role and presents a compelling case for further examination of the generalist education and support needs of these nurses. Combined with multidisciplinary collaboration, developing clinical knowledge and skill across the primary health care spectrum increased the availability of health resources and subsequently improved access to care for remote communities. Further research is required to articulate the contemporary scope of practice of remote area nurses to differentiate their role from that of nurse practitioners.

Keywordsadvanced practice nursing; health services; Indigenous; nurse practitioners; primary health care; rural nursing
Year2022
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Journal citation30 (5), pp. 570-581
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd
ISSN1038-5282
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/ajr.12899
PubMed ID35770878
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85133072228
PubMed Central IDPMC9796301
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range570-581
FunderDepartment of Education, Skills and Employment, Australian Government
Department of Health, Western Australia
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online30 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Jun 2022
Deposited18 Aug 2023
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