How supporting nurses in primary care keeps Australians healthy



A healthy Australia hinges on nurses in primary health care, so nurse advocates Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) requested we provide a tailored educational program to help increase their confidence, skills and knowledge to support and optimise their role in patient-centred care.


Evidence shows that early career nurses have a disproportionate rate of exit from the profession, and graduate nurse employment opportunities to move into primary health are limited without a transition program. Innovative strategies were needed to address recruitment and retention, and to better support the breadth of opportunities in primary health for graduate nurses in other areas.


APNA contracted IF to provide an accessible, flexible and structured education module on ‘Understanding quality improvement in primary health care’.

We provided specific training to allow participants to expand their understanding of how using quality improvement can improve patient outcomes and organisational systems.

The module included activities of reflection of how this model could be implemented into their workplace, questions to gauge level of understanding, additional resources to allow participants to expand their knowledge, and key health-related examples.

The education module aimed to provide

  • skills to make ongoing and sustainable improvements
  • understanding of the ways to engage colleagues in qi work & working to improve efficiency, systems and services
  • how to embed quality improvement and a culture of continuous improvement, with colleagues, organisations and communities to achieve enhanced patient outcomes
  • understanding that collecting and analysing feedback on the lessons learnt through accreditation is an essential part of quality improvement
  • the interaction and relationship between quality improvement and quality assurance
  • familiarity with some of the tools used for quality measurement and improvement

Our part in this project will assist with the primary health care needs of Australian communities and provide a model for the delivery of innovative, effective clinical care by nurses in primary health care settings in areas including General Practice, Aged Care and Community health.

Status of project

25 transitioning nurse participants in the Transition to Practice Pilot Program have been provided with the ‘Understanding Quality Improvement in Primary Health Care’ education activity.

This has been provided as one of eight core modules they complete over the next ten months of the program.

At a baseline assessment, participants prioritise in what order they will do the education modules dependent on their rating of their knowledge, skills and confidence in each area.

This education has also been offered to a further 33 nurses who are supporting the transitioning Nurses – ie 58 Nurses in total.

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