Practice nurses are primarily employed by general practitioners, however little is known about the barriers to practice nurse employment from the perspective of general practitioners (GPs).
This paper seeks to explore solo, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) general practitioners’ perceptions of the practice nurse role, and to identify the barriers and facilitators of these doctors employing nurses within their practice.
A descriptive study, using semi-structured interviews, was conducted from July to August 2010. Participants were CALD GPs working as solo practitioners who were members of a Division of General Practice in South Western Sydney. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.
The response rate was 51%, however no demographic differences were identified between responders and non-responders. The majority of participants (73%) agreed that practice nurses could perform vital sign measurements or spirometry. Fewer participants (52–63%) believed practice nurses could perform breast checks, pap smears, or assessment of medication regimes. Perceived barriers to employing a practice nurse included lack of space or equipment, legal implications, lack of a specific job description and language communication issues. Participants identified the need for greater financial rebates, assistance with training practice nurses and assistance with business modelling as facilitators to practice nurse employment.
The feasibility of practice nurse employment in practices with solo, culturally and linguistically diverse general practitioners remains a challenge that needs further exploration. Employment of practice nurses may be a viable option for younger practitioners who have a desire to work in collaborative multidisciplinary models.