Nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues

Sue Lenthall, John Wakerman, Tessa Opie, Sandra Dunn, Martha McLeod, Maureen Dollard, Greg Rickard, Sabrina Knight

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Objective: To describe the nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues.

    Methods: Data were collected from four main sources: the refined CRANAplus database of remote health facilities; the 2006 census which provided population and percentage of Indigenous people in communities in very remote Australia; a national survey on occupational stress among nurses and an earlier study into violence and remote area nurses conducted in 1995. A descriptive analysis of the data was conducted. Setting: Health facilities in very remote Australia.

    Results: The registered nursing workforce in very remote Australia is mostly female (89%) and ageing, with 40.2% 50years or over, compared to 33% nationally. Many (43%) are in remote Indigenous communities. Over the last decade, there has been a significant decrease in registered nurses with midwifery qualifications (55%) and in child health nurses (39%) in very remote Australia. Only 5% have postgraduate qualifications in remote health practice.

    Conclusion: The nursing workforce in very remote areas of Australia is in trouble. The workforce is ageing, the numbers of nurses per population has fallen and the numbers of midwives and child health nurses have dropped significantly over the last 15years. As many of these nurses work in Indigenous communities, if these trends continue it is likely to have a negative effect on 'closing the gap' in Indigenous health outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-37
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Volume19
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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    Nursing
    Nurses
    Health Facilities
    Midwifery
    Health
    Censuses
    Population Groups
    Violence
    Databases
    Population
    Child Health

    Cite this

    Lenthall, S., Wakerman, J., Opie, T., Dunn, S., McLeod, M., Dollard, M., ... Knight, S. (2011). Nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19(1), 32-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1584.2010.01174.x
    Lenthall, Sue ; Wakerman, John ; Opie, Tessa ; Dunn, Sandra ; McLeod, Martha ; Dollard, Maureen ; Rickard, Greg ; Knight, Sabrina. / Nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues. In: Australian Journal of Rural Health. 2011 ; Vol. 19, No. 1. pp. 32-37.
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    abstract = "Objective: To describe the nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues. Methods: Data were collected from four main sources: the refined CRANAplus database of remote health facilities; the 2006 census which provided population and percentage of Indigenous people in communities in very remote Australia; a national survey on occupational stress among nurses and an earlier study into violence and remote area nurses conducted in 1995. A descriptive analysis of the data was conducted. Setting: Health facilities in very remote Australia. Results: The registered nursing workforce in very remote Australia is mostly female (89{\%}) and ageing, with 40.2{\%} 50years or over, compared to 33{\%} nationally. Many (43{\%}) are in remote Indigenous communities. Over the last decade, there has been a significant decrease in registered nurses with midwifery qualifications (55{\%}) and in child health nurses (39{\%}) in very remote Australia. Only 5{\%} have postgraduate qualifications in remote health practice. Conclusion: The nursing workforce in very remote areas of Australia is in trouble. The workforce is ageing, the numbers of nurses per population has fallen and the numbers of midwives and child health nurses have dropped significantly over the last 15years. As many of these nurses work in Indigenous communities, if these trends continue it is likely to have a negative effect on 'closing the gap' in Indigenous health outcomes.",
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    Lenthall, S, Wakerman, J, Opie, T, Dunn, S, McLeod, M, Dollard, M, Rickard, G & Knight, S 2011, 'Nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues', Australian Journal of Rural Health, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 32-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1584.2010.01174.x

    Nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues. / Lenthall, Sue; Wakerman, John; Opie, Tessa; Dunn, Sandra; McLeod, Martha; Dollard, Maureen; Rickard, Greg; Knight, Sabrina.

    In: Australian Journal of Rural Health, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2011, p. 32-37.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    AB - Objective: To describe the nursing workforce in very remote Australia, characteristics and key issues. Methods: Data were collected from four main sources: the refined CRANAplus database of remote health facilities; the 2006 census which provided population and percentage of Indigenous people in communities in very remote Australia; a national survey on occupational stress among nurses and an earlier study into violence and remote area nurses conducted in 1995. A descriptive analysis of the data was conducted. Setting: Health facilities in very remote Australia. Results: The registered nursing workforce in very remote Australia is mostly female (89%) and ageing, with 40.2% 50years or over, compared to 33% nationally. Many (43%) are in remote Indigenous communities. Over the last decade, there has been a significant decrease in registered nurses with midwifery qualifications (55%) and in child health nurses (39%) in very remote Australia. Only 5% have postgraduate qualifications in remote health practice. Conclusion: The nursing workforce in very remote areas of Australia is in trouble. The workforce is ageing, the numbers of nurses per population has fallen and the numbers of midwives and child health nurses have dropped significantly over the last 15years. As many of these nurses work in Indigenous communities, if these trends continue it is likely to have a negative effect on 'closing the gap' in Indigenous health outcomes.

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