The work, education and career pathways of nurses in Australian general practice

Rhian Parker, Helen Keleher, Laura E Forrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


There is little understanding about the educational levels and career pathways of the primary care nursing workforce in Australia. This article reports on survey research conducted to examine the qualifications and educational preparation of primary care nurses in general practice, their current enrolments in education programs, and their perspectives about post-registration education. Fifty-eight practice nurses from across Australia completed the survey. Over 94% reported that they had access to educational opportunities but identified a range of barriers to undertaking further education. Although 41% of nurses said they were practising at a speciality advanced level, this correlated with the number of years they had worked in general practice rather than to any other factor, including level of education. Respondents felt a strong sense of being regarded as less important than nurses working in the acute care sector. Almost 85% of respondents reported that they did not have a career pathway in their organisation. They also felt that while the public had confidence in them, there was some way to go regarding role recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2011


  • primary care
  • training
  • workforce.

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