Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 1, P35-41, March 2013

How acceptable are primary health care nurse practitioners to Australian consumers?


      International evidence indicates that nurses working in primary care can provide effective care and achieve positive health outcomes for patients similar to that provided by doctors. Nurse practitioners employed in primary health care perform some tasks previously exclusive to the GP role due to their advanced skills, knowledge and training. In November 2010 Medicare provider rights and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rights were provided for nurse practitioners working in private practice, and in collaboration with a medical practitioner. However, there is limited evidence about how acceptable nurse practitioners are to Australian consumers and what knowledge consumers have of the nurse practitioner role in the delivery of primary health care. The aim of this study was to examine Australian health care consumers’ perceptions of nurse practitioners working in primary health care. This paper reports on the results of seven focus groups (n = 77 participants) conducted around Australia. Focus groups participants were asked how acceptable nurse practitioners are as provides of primary health care. Although there was some confusion about the role of nurse practitioners and how this role differed from other primary health care nurses, participants in the focus groups were very positive about nurse practitioners and would find them acceptable in providing primary health care.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Collegian
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Agosta L.J.
        Patient satisfaction with nurse practitioner-delivered primary healthcare services.
        Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 2009; 21: 610-617
        • Allnutt J.
        • Allnutt N.
        • McMaster R.
        • O’Connell J.
        • Middleton S.
        • Hillege S.
        • et al.
        Clients’ understanding of the role of nurse practitioners.
        Australian Health Review: A Publication of the Australian Hospital Association. 2010; 34: 59-65
      1. Australian College of Nurse Practitioners. (2010). Australian College of Nurse Practitioners Potted History. Available from:

      2. Australian General Practice Network. (2010). National Practice Nurse Workforce Survey. Canberra.

        • Baldwin K.A.
        • Sisk R.J.
        • Watts P.
        • McCubbin J.
        • Brockschmidt B.
        • Marion L.N.
        Acceptance of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in meeting the perceived needs of rural communities.
        Public Health Nursing (Boston, Mass.). 1998; 15: 389-397
        • Britt H.
        • Miller G.
        • Charles J.
        • Henderson J.
        • et al.
        General practice activity in Australia 2008–09.
        Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra2009
        • Charmaz K.
        Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis.
        Sage Publications, London2006
        • Cheek J.
        • Price K.
        • Dawson A.
        • Mott K.
        • Beilby J.
        • Wilkinson D.
        Consumer perceptions of nursing and nurses in general practice: Centre for research into nursing and health care.
        University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia2002
        • Gagan M.
        Patient satisfaction with Nurse Practitioner care in primary care settings.
        Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2011; 28: 12-19
        • Gould O.N.
        • Johnstone D.
        • Wasylkiw L.
        Nurse practitioners in Canada: Beginnings, benefits and barriers.
        Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 2007; 19: 165-171
        • Haidar E.
        Evaluating patient satisfaction with nurse practitioners.
        Nursing Times. 2008; 104: 32-33
        • Halcomb E.
        • Caldwell B.
        • Salamonson Y.
        • Davidson P.
        Development and psychometric validation of the general practice nurse satisfaction scale.
        Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 2011; 43: 318-327
        • Hegney D.
        • Price K.
        • Patterson E.
        • Martin-McDonald K.
        • Rees S.
        Australian consumers’ expectations for expanded nursing roles in general practice.
        Australian Family Physician. 2004; 33: 845-848
        • Keleher
        • Parker
        • Abdulwadud
        • Francis
        The effectiveness of primary and community care nursing in primary care settings. A systematic literature review.
        International Journal of Nursing Practice. 2009; 15: 16-24
        • Knudtson N.
        Patient satisfaction with nurse practitioner service in a rural setting.
        Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 2000; 12: 405-412
        • Kviz F.
        • Misener T.
        • Vinson N.
        Rural health care consumers’ perceptions of the nurse practitioner role.
        Journal of Community Health. 1983; 8: 248-262
        • Laurant M.G.
        • Hermens R.P.
        • Braspenning J.C.
        • Sibbald B.
        • Grol R.P.
        Impact of nurse practitioners on workload of general practitioners: Randomised controlled trial.
        British Medical Journal. 2004; 328: 927
        • Lemley K.B.
        • Marks B.
        Patient satisfaction of young adults in rural clinics.
        Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice. 2009; 10: 143-152
        • Miles M.B.
        • Huberman A.M.
        Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook.
        Sage, Thousand Oaks, Calif1994
        • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
        Registration standard for endorsement of nurse practitioners.
        Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, Canberra2010
        • Parker Keleher
        • Abdulwadud
        • Francis
        Practice nursing in Australia: A review of education and career pathways.
        BMC Nursing. 2009; 8
      3. Productivity Commission. (2005). Australia's Health Workforce, Research Report. Canberra.

        • Roblin D.W.
        • Becker E.R.
        • Adams E.K.
        • Howard D.H.
        • Roberts M.H.
        Patient satisfaction with primary care: Does type of practitioner matter?.
        Medical Care. 2004; 42: 579-590
        • Ryan D.
        Nurse practitioners: Standards and criteria for the accreditation of nursing and midwifery courses leading to registration, enrolment, endorsement and authorisation in Australia — with evidence guide.
        Australian Nursing & Midwifery Council, Dickson ACT2009
        • Starfield B.
        Toward international primary care reform.
        Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2009; 180: 1091-1092
        • Starfield B.
        • Shi L.
        • Macinko J.
        Contribution of primary care to health systems and health.
        The Milbank Quarterly. 2005; 83: 457-502
        • Wakerman J.
        • Humphreys J.
        • Wells R.
        • Kuipers P.
        • Entwistle P.
        • Jones J.
        A systematic review of primary health care delivery models in rural and remote Australia 1993–2006.
        Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Canberra2006
        • Wasylkiw L.
        • Gould O.N.
        • Johnstone D.
        Exploring women's attitudes and intentions to seek care from nurse practitioners across different age groups.
        Canadian Journal On Aging – La Revue Canadienne Du Vieillissement. 2009; 28: 177-183
        • Williams A.
        • Jones M.
        Patients’ assessments of consulting a nurse practitioner: The time factor.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2006; 53: 188-195
        • Wilson A.
        • Shifaza F.
        An evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of nurse practitioners in an adult emergency department.
        International Journal of Nursing Practice. 2008; 14: 149-156