General Practice Nurses Open More Doors

1 There was a time when the idea of marketing anything other than products, services or brands was an offensive idea. Is it right to market individuals? In this modern world of social media and megastardom (Richard Branson, anyone?) branding individuals is more and more common. The net results is, like it or not, we are all marketing ourselves in the eyes of employers. The course of study we follow, our interests, and what we want to become have always been the backdrops for whom we are, but now those elements are publicly visible in our LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Like a living tapestry, they keep record of the doors through which we’ve walked, a digital resume of our lives. The concern for most students is which door to open? “If I walk through the door of one opportunity, do I lose out on others once it closes behind me?” Likely not, but the anxiety is legitimate, so we are here to walk you through a career in general practice nursing. Follow on and you’ll quickly learn that there is nothing general about general practice nursing, rather you benefit from gaining a broad range of skills which keep doors open while you decide if you’ve walked through the right one. General practice nursing is an exciting, growing and varied field of nursing in Australia. GP nurses are making a difference in this growing field of expertise, with plenty of variety and career benefits. 2

Make a Difference

General practice nurses often work with patients to manage lifestyle related health issues, such as diet and weight loss, monitoring and managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In a world where more and more people struggle with making healthy lifestyle choices, you can imagine how your career choice can positively affect the lives of many others. As a general practice nurse you often get to spend more time with your patients than the doctor. Some of your patients may even think you are their doctor. What you are is the essential part of a team that works together to deliver the best health management and outcomes for your patients. Collaborative practices that involve nurses working with doctors and other allied health professionals to provide a more holistic approach to medicine and health outcomes are the way of the future. As a general practice nurse you are a kingpin for this approach. 3

A Growth Field

The Australian Practice Nurses Association states that general practice nursing is the fastest growing area within the health care sector. General practice nurses are at the forefront of primary care and can find themselves working in small or large practices, public or private, rural or metropolitan areas, as well as with refugee and migrant communities. Now more than ever doctors and practice managers are realising the benefits of collaborative practice and employing general practice nurses to improve processes and patient outcomes. From the hiring practice’s perspective, which is how you want to consider this, a nurse skilled in general practice can be molded to fit the needs of an individual practice much faster. There are no bad habits or skill sets to re-wire. From an economic standpoint, practices save money by hiring nurses to handle aspects of patient care and assist with procedures. It also frees the doctors up to focus on doing what they do best and enables them to actually see more patients, reducing waiting times. See how valuable you could be? 4

Variety is the Spice of… Everything

If you love variety then general practice nursing has you covered. Many general practice nurses enjoy the fact that no two days are the same. Some of the areas general practice nurses find themselves within are: lifestyle education, women's health, men's health, maternal & child health, immunisation, diabetes, wound management, sexual health, health promotion, asthma and COPD care, mental health, and (as you can imagine) so many more ways. Some general practice nurses choose to sub-specialise in a particular area and focus on working in that domain. Other general practice nurses do a bit of everything. The diverse range of skills that general practice nurses obtain, means that your choice to walk through the general practice nursing doorway keeps you open for pursuing other pathways when and if you choose to. Think of it as the career path you can follow while you figure out what you want to do with your life, which may just end up be the same thing you’ve been doing, and that’s okay too. You are flying down the variety hallway of options and have the world at your fingertips. 5

Career Benefits

Fringe benefits. With the support from initiatives such as the Practice Nurse Incentive Program, more practices are realising the benefits of employing practice nurses and therefore we are seeing a growth rate for jobs in this field. This is the perfect time for you peruse the most flexible nursing career path. No nights. A huge benefit for this position is no more night shifts, something that most people consider a virtue especially if you have a young family to take care of. As a general practice nurse, you only work within the hours of which the practice is open. How does that sound? No boredom. In truth there aren’t many nursing pathways you can follow which will leave you bored, but the GP nursing is hard-wired to be a flexible and multifaceted path. While the standard elements of your schooling will always be the backbone of what you do, your day to day could be very open in this role. More options. Professional development, as general practice nursing is a growing field there will be a growing number of options available to advance your skills and knowledge well into the future. There are a hallway of doors all around you. Don’t stress about where all your doorways are going to lead you. Walk through the one which utilises all of your training, in an arena where you can be free to develop the skill sets you most enjoy. Go out into the professional world with a brand that tells potential employers you are ready to be molded into their next top general practice nurse. They don’t have to know you really don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. Neither do you. Come Join us on Pinterest CLICK HERE
Previous article The Future of Nursing - Will Nurses Ever be Replaced by Robots?