The Rudd Government announced at the weekend that it would appoint a Commonwealth chief nursing & midwifery officer.

The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon said the Government would appoint the inaugural chief nurse by April to provide advice on nursing policy.

Other components of the chief nurse’s role will include the promotion the nursing profession and participation in the development of the upcoming primary care strategy.

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), which has been lobbying for a chief nurse for some time, welcomed the announcement.

The ANF’s Federal Secretary, Jill Iliffe, said she expecetd the chief nurse would have a strong focus on aged care.

“One of the reasons that we have been lobbying hard for this position is for aged care,” she told Australian Ageing Agenda

“Because it is a Federal Government-funded service, we think that the chief nurse will play a big role in promoting nursing and a better utilisation of nurses in aged care, particularly in roles like clinical nurse consultants and nurse practitioners.”

“We believe the chief nurse will also be instrumental in promoting nursing standards and access to IT in aged care as well as improving the links between hospitals and residential care, and community aged care and residential care.”

The CEO of Aged Care Association Australia, Rod Young, also welcomed the announcement on behalf of the industry.

“After the acute hospital sector, aged care is probably the biggest employer of nurses, so there will definitely be some opportunity to raise the profile of aged care nurses through this new role,” he said.

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