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Tuesday, May 12

Nursing workforce has more to give

Better use could be made of the country’s nursing workforce in order to free up doctors and other health professionals and create greater capacity in the health system.

Ministry of Health Chief Nurse Mark Jones says the wider health system needs to fully recognise and utilise this country’s huge nursing resource, in order to take the pressure off doctors and ease our health workforce shortages.

Mark Jones says, “We need to liberate the talents of nurses to free up the capacity and capability of other health professionals. We need to let nurses do the things we know they are capable of doing.”

He says the role of nurses is constantly evolving, and with it, nursing skills and scopes of practice.

“We have a highly educated nursing workforce, including 53 very experienced and well qualified nurse practitioners – many of whom have prescribing rights.

We need to ensure our system encourages their growth and utilises their full potential.”

Mark Jones says nurses play a key role in the health system’s ability to deliver better, sooner and more convenient health services.

He says International Nurses Day (Tuesday 12 May 2009) provides the opportunity to reflect on the contribution made by the country’s 45,000 practising nurses and their commitment to improving the health of the population.

“Nurses bring both care and compassion to the health system, in hospitals and in primary care settings. We must never forget that these are the qualities that profoundly affect the patient journey and experience.”

The Ministry of Health today launched a nursing logo and slogan designed for use across the nursing sector, to promote the profession and bind its many strands under one brand. The slogan “NZ Nursing: At the heart of health care” features a logo with a heart and a cross.

Mark Jones says the heart symbolises the care and compassion of nursing, while the cross is instantly recognisable as a symbol for health and first aid.

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