Conference Abstracts

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Call the RN: For Almost anything in aged care

McDonald, T. A., McInnerney, F. & Thompson, R., 2014

ACSA National Conference, Adelaide


Background: Nurses have always played a central role in the clinical services, leadership and management of the aged care system in Australia. Over recent decades this role has changed to be more focused on leadership and management while the clinical acuity of residents has increased because of later admission to care and the tendency to be admitted via hospital following some personal or health crisis.

Objective: This presentation examines the contribution nurses make as clinicians to residents in aged care and also their role in current and future protection of aged care businesses in relation to regulatory compliance risk associated with care quality.

Methods and results: Aged care policy reforms that have been in the pipeline for over 20 years will begin to bed down in 2014. With those reforms will come requirements for more stringent assessment of resident needs; measurable clinical outcomes; funding attached to nursing assessment and care plans; continuous improvement in clinical as well as management systems; ethical use of psychotropic drugs; and effective responses by the organisation to resident health and medical care. Approved providers who have maintained an organizational infrastructure that supports clinical excellence in nursing will be well prepared for these changes however innovation and creativity is needed to design professional work that will attract and retain registered nurses in aged care practice.

Conclusions: Contemporary registered nurses expect to be acknowledged for their expertise as clinicians as well as leaders within aged care organisations. Not to do so will undermine the potential of aged care employers to attract and retain nurses within their organisations.

Delegates will:

  • understand the key contribution of registered nurses to the quality of care and organizational stability of aged care services
  • Identify priorities for nurse clinicians in aged care practice and design work and systems to support and enhance their development as professionals.

CITATION McDonald, T., McInnerney, F. & Thompson, R. (2014) Call the RN: for almost anything in aged care. Aged Care Services Australia (ACSA) national Conference. Adelaide Convention Centre, 7-10 September.


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