A review of the growth and development of Australian practice nursing: Insights for the dietetic workforce

Alexandra R. Davidson, Dianne P. Reidlinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    53 Downloads (Pure)


    Aim: The aim of this scoping review was to provide an overview of the development of practice nurses, and the learnings that could be applied to improve the profile of dietetics practice in primary care. 

    Methods: A scoping review synthesising peer-reviewed and other literature relevant to the development of Australian practice nurses was conducted. Structured searches using keywords ‘general practice’, ‘nurse’ and ‘Australia’ were conducted in PubMed and Google Scholar in June 2021. Key government websites, Department of Health and Services Australia, were searched to identify grey literature. One reviewer screened the titles and abstracts against inclusion criteria; two reviewers conducted full-text screening independently. Data on the evolution of practice nursing were extracted based on its interest and transferability to the dietetics workforce. 

    Results: A total of 102 results (82 peer-reviewed and 20 other literature) were included in the review. Key drivers for practice nurse role development in Australia were government funding, practice nurse practice standards, cost–benefit analyses of practice nurses, career and education opportunities, general practitioner and patient perspectives of practice nurses and, individual, community and local needs. 

    Conclusions: The practice nurse role has grown and strengthened and there are three key learnings that could be translated to strengthen the dietetics workforce in primary care. (1) Use and expansion of government funding, (2) furthering post-tertiary education and career opportunities, including dietetic primary care practice standards and (3) targeting underserviced areas such as those that are rural and remote and building positive relationships with other stakeholders including practice nurses, general practitioners, patients and the broader primary care team.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)497-548
    Number of pages52
    JournalNutrition and Dietetics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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