Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Registered Nurses in very remote Australia, medicines and the law

Mrs Katie Pennington1, Dr Kimberley Clark1, Professor Sabina Knight2, Assocaite Professor Jacques Oosthuizen3, Dr Yaqoot Fatima2

1Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia,

2James Cook University, Mt Isa, Australia,

3Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia,

 

Introduction: Have you ever felt unsure about whether you are working within your legal professional boundaries as a Registered Nurse?  You are not alone.  Registered Nurses (RNs) work in complex and changing legislative and regulatory environments.  RNs are a mobile workforce and historically little has been known about how Australia’s fragmented system of medicines and poisons legislation has impacted on the ability of RNs to deliver healthcare in the remote context. This paper will place the current Australian legislative and regulatory arrangements with regards to RNs and medication management in an international context and present preliminary findings from a national anonymous questionnaire exploring the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of RNs in very remote Australia with regards to medication management, legislation and organisational requirements.

What is happening in the Project: Registered Nurses in very remote Australia, medicines and the law is a mixed methods research project utilising an explanatory sequential design that commenced in early 2018.  The first phase of data collection involving a national anonymous questionnaire exploring the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of RNs in very remote Australia with regards to medication management, legislation and organisational requirements is due for completion in June 2018.  These preliminary results will be presented and discussed in terms of a RNs professional obligations according to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Code of Conduct, current Australian legislative arrangements and central objectives of the National Medicines Policy.

Conclusion: Initial findings from the first phase of data collection will be presented and used to highlight the impact that current legislative arrangements are having on Registered Nurses in very remote Australia, their ability to deliver care and to highlight factors that currently support RNs to provide safe and timely access to medications in the very remote context.


Biography:

Katie currently works part-time in a Continuous Quality Improvement role with Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service where her work focuses on improving clinical and organisational systems and supporting staff in remote clinics.

She holds a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Tasmania, a Graduate Diploma in Remote Health Practice and a Graduate Certificate of Nursing (Child and Family Health Nursing) from Flinders University and is currently undertaking her Masters in Public Health (Research) through Edith Cowan University