Australia’s nurses are being encouraged to take part in a research survey which will help shape the discussion about the future of nurse involvement in eye care.
The survey, the first of its kind in Australia, also aims to create a snapshot of the eye care nurse workforce.
CERA researcher Heather Machin, a registered nurse, is leading the study which is supported by the Australia Ophthalmic Nurses Association.
She says the study will gather key information about the kinds of settings nurses, caring for people with eye care needs, work in, where they are located and the different roles they perform.
“We hope the data collected in this survey will contribute to policy discussions about the future of eye health services in Australia and the role of nurses in how they are delivered,” she says.
“Currently there is a wealth of data about eye care professionals such as orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmologists – but there is no data on nurses, despite being the largest healthcare provider group, and their critical role in many settings.
“We know that eye care nurses work in specialist hospitals like the Eye and Ear here in Melbourne – but we are also keen to get a fuller picture of those working in other settings like private ophthalmology practices, domiciliary care, community or Indigenous health settings, who may or may not identify as an eye care nurse, yet they are providing care to eye care patients”
Ms Machin says the survey also wants to hear nurses’ views on issues such as training, their role in eye care and what the profession can do to attract and retain nurses with specialist eye care skills.
“With an ageing nursing workforce, and an ageing population with greater eye care needs, it’s critical we start planning for the future,” she says.
“We hope the information gathered from this survey will form an important part of the discussion about the provision of eye care services in Australia – and help develop new strategies to attract and retain more nurses to eye care.”
To take part in the survey you must be a nurse licensed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged over 18 years of age.