Strengthening the role of the nursing workforce

The initiative supports nurses moving into primary health care and encourages them to have a central role in team-based approaches to delivering care.

About the initiative

Strengthening the role of nurses helps to deliver primary health care and meet the future health care needs of the Australian community. It raises awareness of the role of nurse practitioners, and reviews undergraduate preparation for nurses in Australia to explore improvements to the system. The initiative also focuses on any factors that may be affecting nurses entering the workforce. This is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

Why it is important

Primary health care is often the first point of contact people have with the health care system. The nursing workforce has a wide range of skills and experience in caring for the health needs of the Australian community.

Delivering a stronger role for nurses in primary health care will have clinical and economic benefits, including:

  • improving access to health care
  • enabling longer consultations
  • improving case management and care coordination
  • enhancing teamwork across practices
  • improving the cost-effectiveness of practices
  • removing duplication of work
  • reducing the need for hospitalisations and emergency department use
  • improving patient health care results and health.


This initiative is strengthening the nursing workforce by:

  • promoting a central role for nurses in delivering team-based and multidisciplinary care for patients with chronic and complex conditions
  • improving care in rural and remote settings
  • supporting nurses to move into primary health care
  • testing new models of care
  • providing better education and training about primary health care to the nursing workforce.

Meeting our goals

The program includes 3 elements:

Nursing in Primary Health Care Program

We fund Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association to run the Nursing in Primary Health Care program.

The program includes 3 elements:

Independent review of nursing education  

We commissioned the Educating the Nurse of the Future, Report of the Independent Review of Nursing Education to review educational preparation of nurses. This considers factors that influence people to choose nursing as an occupation.

The report presents 26 recommendations. These include that the National Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Education Network will monitor the realisation of the review’s recommendations. You can read the Australian Government’s response to the report

Who we work with

To deliver this initiative, we work with the:


Department of Health and Aged Care National Office

Use these contact details for all general enquiries, comments and concerns.
Date last updated:

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