Nurse practitioners providing high quality, cost effective care for women’s health
Advanced nursing practice in women’s health has been well established internationally for more than 30 years. Georgina McPherson, a Nurse Practitioner (NP), developed the first nurse colposcopist training programme in New Zealand with Professor Ron Jones at the National Women’s Hospital. She has been practising as a colposcopist for 18 years and in 2006 was endorsed as New Zealand’s first NP in Women’s health and first nurse of Pacific descent to gain NP endorsement. Her practice has spanned both primary and secondary care services, providing colposcopy and a well women’s clinic in the community to improve access to care for Maori and Pacific women.
In New Zealand. NPs have been clinical experts within teams and are now becoming clinical leaders of teams. Through this recognition of the quality of service provision by NPs, Georgina was appointed as the clinical lead in 2016 with the approval of the Ministry of Health, a role previously reserved for medical practitioners.
Georgina is well recognised as a leader in her field providing frontline clinical care services that are exceling above the Colposcopy Quality Improvement Program standards and providing exceptionally high quality of care. Seeing some of the issues with access to services in her community, Georgina established a new clinical pathway. A laboratory utilisation project saw evidence-based guidelines implemented and a significant and sustained change in laboratory testing which has resulted in savings of close to NZ$100,000 over a 12-month period. It has also reduced unnecessary testing for women.
The benefits of an NP-led model of care has demonstrated NPs can provide a clinically and cost-effective care. There has been a reduction in cancelled Site Management Organization clinics due to the flexibility of NP to cover, and it has enabled the development of NPs into other areas of the gynaecology service. The development of a NP as a clinical lead has shown NPs can provide excellent clinical leadership and lead clinical services to improve quality of care and service provision.