As St Vincent’s first Aged Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP), Sarah Kendall joins a select group of five Nurse Practitioners across the SVHM health service.
The role of Nurse Practitioner is a relatively new development in Australia, but has been gathering momentum over the last 10 to 15 years, with over 1,200 Nurse Practitioners now involved in a wide range of specialties and practice settings.
As an Aged Care Nurse Practitioner, Sarah is comprehensively trained within the Geriatric Medical Team to identify and address health concerns within the older person population. Her responsibility comprises assessment, examination, diagnosis and management.
Sarah undertook her initial nursing training at St Vincent’s, commencing in 1981, and spent many years working in Australia and overseas in a variety of roles before settling back at St Vincent’s in 2012.
Sarah now works in HIP Complex Care Services, in a multidisciplinary team providing community based support to older people with complex health care and social needs, and in a Nurse Practitioner role in the Pain Clinic for Older People.
‘In HIP I see clients that are considered at high risk of being re-admitted,’ Sarah says. ‘I work with the Care Coordinator, visiting them at home to enable them to remain in the community for treatment where appropriate to do so.’
As well as her advanced clinical role, being a Nurse Practitioner means Sarah has a number of other responsibilities.
‘I am active in research, mentor other nurses to further their clinical skills and promote the Nurse Practitioner role among nurses,’ Sarah says.
The role of Aged Care Nurse Practitioner is a new role for St Vincent’s, and one that is evolving across Victoria, with only 27 Aged Care Nurse Practitioners in Victoria, mostly in regional areas.
The role of an Aged Care Nurse Practitioner is providing advanced evidence based nursing care to the older members of our society – and an additional flexible way of supporting St Vincent’s patients to remain well and at home, where most prefer to be.