An overview of my research; What is the role of the contemporary RAN and how can this role be developed to optimize health care delivery in very remote Aboriginal communities?

Mr Rohan Langstaff1

1UTAS, Leongatha, Australia


There is significant disparity and inequity in health care between metropolitan, rural and remote locations in Australia.

Remote Area Nursing (RAN) as a profession is facing numerous challenges including: an ageing and increasingly mobile workforce; increased mortality and morbidity in remote Populations, and limited programs specifically designed for preparing the next generation of RANs.

The role of the RAN remains defined with individuals required to be ‘specialist generalists’ with little definition of the requirements and qualifications that individuals require to practice as a RAN. There is significant variation in policy amongst the state/ territory and local jurisdictions that impact on the ability for a RAN to undertake their role.

The reality of remote area nursing is chronic condition management, preventative aboriginal health assessments, and providing general ‘semi-acute’ primary health care. Individuals require core skills in emergency management but it is only a small portion of the role with focused preventative health care and well-rounded primary health care delivery the majority of the role.

There are great courses conducted by various organizations to prepare Registered Nurses for Remote Area Nursing- my research will investigate the advanced scope of practice of Remote Area Nursing and the paradigm shift within remote area nursing to analyze how to improve remote area health care delivery in very remote areas through a mixed methods research approach.

This research will investigate various components of the role of the RAN and attempt to analyse the following questions:

  • What is a RAN?
  • How do RANs become RANs?
  • Preparing RN for practice as a RAN- what works what doesn’t?
  • What is the current role of a RAN?
  • “Advanced scope of practice” how does it apply to Remote Area Nursing?


Registered Nurse/Masters Public Health /Masters Health Administration.

Currently student Masters/ PhD student at University of Tasmania.

I have worked in remote and rural Aboriginal primary health care for the last 12 years. I have a passion for remote area nursing, having spent 7 years working in a variety of remote Northern Territory Aboriginal health centers in a variety of roles. I am currently working the NSW Ministry of Health working on implementing the NSW Aboriginal health Key Performance Indicators and Quality improvement in the 45 ACCHSs across NSW.