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Nursing in General Practice

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What is general practice nursing?

Nursing in general practice is a dynamic, rewarding, and vibrant sector of the nursing profession. The nursing speciality offers a range of experiences and provides the opportunity to be part of a small clinical team, meeting the diverse primary care needs of the community. Nursing in general practice is a shift from a hospital-based environment to a small business environment embedded in the local community.

General practice nurses work in collaboration with general practitioners to provide a range of services.

With a focus on the primary healthcare sector, general practice nurses are increasingly exerting a critical role in delivering continuity of care to their patients, improving their health outcomes.

Did you know:

  • Around 20% of all nurses work in Primary Healthcare
  • 14,786 nurses work in general practice (2019).

CESPHN Practice Nurse orientation

For the Practice

Nurses are highly skilled and knowledgeable health professionals who work collaboratively with GPs and other members of the practice team, to provide safe and quality care.

Recognised benefits nurses can bring to general practice include:

  • Improved outcomes in chronic disease such as care planning and chronic disease management with GPs, including telehealth.
  • Identifying and contacting at-risk patients, to ensure ongoing routine care
  • Reduction in waiting times
  • Risk identification, screening and triage
  • Improved integration with the acute sector
  • Enhanced consumer satisfaction
  • Staff education and support
  • Implementing and overseeing quality and infection control measures

For the Practice Nurse

Nursing in General practice is a dynamic and vibrant area of the nursing profession. In general practice you will be a core member of general practice teams, providing significant benefits to the provision of primary health services. 

What are the benefits of general practice nursing?

  • Flexible working arrangements with little or no shift work
  • Working as a valued member of a small team
  • Ability to be self directed and utilise many skills
  • Opportunity to specialise in areas of interest
  • Build longer and stronger healthcare relationships with patients

Roles and responsibilities of nurses working in general practice

The roles and responsibilities of each general practice nurse will depend on a variety of factors including:

  • GP preferences and specialty areas
  • Size of the practice
  • Patient demographics
  • Physical layout of the practice
  • Experience and special qualifications of the nurse
  • Leadership and competence

What skills are needed to become a practice nurse?

 There is no particular training a nurse is required to do before starting work in a general practice if registration standards are met.

However, there are a few areas and skills that will make it easier to work in a general practice.

Some of these valuable skills include:

  • Infection Prevention and Control
  • Health Assessments
  • Chronic Disease Management Plans
  • Immunisations

We have developed some webinars to assist you in learning and understanding these key areas of general practice nursing

Health Assessments – the role of Nurses in General Practice

Chronic Disease Management and Care Plans for Practice Nurses

Further webinars can be found Education Training and Resources webpage.

Get in touch with CESPHN Practice Support Team

Our practice support team can provide you with a one-on-one orientation session to help support your practice along with additional resources.

We also help support the education and professional development of Practice Nurses and staff with monthly practice staff events covering a wide range of topics. Visit our events page to register for upcoming events.

To book an orientation, contact the practice support and development officers’ team on:

PH: 1300 986 991 (option 3) |  

Publications and Resources 

APNA Salary and Conditions
Nurse Award 2010 Fair Work Australia
Practice Nurse Incentive Program Guidelines
Recognition and Treatment of Anaphylaxis

APNA Salary and Conditions
Nurse Award 2010 Fair Work Australia
Practice Nurse Incentive Program Guidelines
Recognition and Treatment of Anaphylaxis

 Managing Anaphylaxis


National Practice Standards for Nurses in General Practice

Australian Practice Nurses Association
CVC Program: Guide for General Practice
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
Practice Nursing.Info

Standards for practice for nurses and midwives
The Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines

Immunisation and Cold chain management Information and Resources

What is primary health care nursing?

Immunisation for Nurses