Foundations of general practice nursing workshop spring series helping nurses improve their practice

The spring series of APNA's Foundations of general practice nursing workshops has drawn to a close after touring around the country, upskilling and engaging nurses new or transitioning into primary health care. 

General practice nursing is different to other areas of nursing practice and can seem like a very unfamiliar environment. Over a number of years, APNA has built on its reputation for delivering high standard practical, comprehensive orientation workshops that have been developed and facilitated by local nurse leaders. One nurse participant transitioning into the general practice environment commented in evaluating the course: 

Very practical. Picked up a lot of information I can implement straight away.

The best education I’ve attended since being a practice nurse. Highly recommend.

I really enjoyed the workshop. Being very new to practice nursing I felt very much like a sponge… I have taken on board Mel Cromarty’s (facilitator) advice not to try and eat the elephant all at once and have just chipped away at some of the information I received and bit by bit I am improving my practice.

Re wound management session in Adelaide, really enjoyed all the wound types and then all brainstorming answers. Great to hear other people’s experiences and way they approach things.

Learnt lots – many a different approach that she used made me think how both my patients and myself could get more out of CDM! Loved it.

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the workshop. Great content, great people. As a new member I think APNA is the best thing ever!

With sessions in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane all reaching capacity, and strong turn outs in Hobart and Perth – feedback confirmed that this recently updated and streamlined series met the education and networking needs of nurse participants and facilitators.

A feature of the training was having presenters that were local leaders in their respective field, for example, the well-regarded wound expert Jan Rice presented a highly interactive Wound Management session down in Melbourne to a capacity crowd of close to 80 nurses! Hearing a representative from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) present on ‘Professional Practice and Professional Development’, and similarly, ‘Information Management and eHealth’ delivered by a passionate Australian Digital Health Authority (ADHA) representative, made these notoriously dry topics more accessible and relevant. 


Streamlining the course program allowed more time for greater engagement and interactive learning through activities and vibrant discussion. The consensus was that the more hands on topics, such as Chronic Disease Management, Immunisation and Wound Management, are best absorbed with case study discussion, visual demonstrations and role plays. How to hold a baby whilst vaccinating was popular, and discussion around writing care plans and Medicare Benefit Scheme Item Numbers generated a lot of questions, stories and discourse across the two days.

These workshops also provide a brilliant opportunity for nurses to network and share knowledge, resources, ideas and so on with their peers of varying experience. Further, Practice Support Staff from Primary Health Networks and Nurse Network Coordinators were invited, in some cases as facilitators, or simply to attend a session and offer the chance to talk with nurses from their catchment about work they are doing to support general practice and to hear from them. One clear insight from most sessions was that these new to general practice nurses were unaware of and following the course, very eager to be linked in with organisations such as APNA, PHNs and APNA-supported Nurse Networks that support the work they do.

One of the challenges that arose from these workshops was meeting the learning needs of the more experienced nurses that chose to attend, simultaneous with those with significantly less experience. While most understood the Foundations to be an orientation that can serve as a refresher, this feedback has led APNA to consider the value and need for developing and delivering an abridged Foundations Update for the more experienced general practice nurses seeking this training. If you are a nurse working in primary health care that would be interested in being involved or attending such an update, please contact education@apna.asn.au.

Following the success of the 2016 series, APNA looks forward to rolling out this essential education again in each capital city in 2017, as well as potential sessions in each territory and major regional centres where enough interest can be generated. 

To view APNA’s 2017 CPD Calendar keep an eye out on our website and in APNA Connect or email education@apna.asn.au.