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Aust Health Rev. 2013 Nov;37(5):588-93. doi: 10.1071/AH12019.

Addressing chronic and complex conditions: what evidence is there regarding the role primary healthcare nurses can play?

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Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Level 1, Ian Potter House, Cnr Gordon and Marcus Clarke Streets, Australian National University, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia. Email:


Primary healthcare services in Australia need to respond to the needs of an ageing population and the rising prevalence of chronic and complex conditions in that population. This paper reports on the results of a comprehensive Australian and international literature review on nurse-led and nurse-involved primary healthcare interventions with a particular focus on those serving people with chronic and complex conditions and hard to reach populations. The key question this review addresses is: what role can nurses play in primary healthcare to manage people with chronic and complex conditions? International evidence demonstrates that nurses working in primary care provide effective care, have high patient satisfaction and patients are more likely to comply with nurse instructions than general practitioner instructions. Nurses can provide care equivalent to doctors within their scope of practice but have longer consultations. Lifestyle interventions provided by nurses have been shown to be effective for cardiac care, diabetes care, smoking cessation and obesity. The nursing workforce can provide appropriate, cost-effective and high-quality primary healthcare within their scope of practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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