ASHM recognises and acknowledges the importance of upskilling early career nurses, those new to BBV STI care and midwives throughout Australia.
ASHM is dedicated to ensuring that mid to late career nurses and midwives and those that are highly specialised in their field are positioned to pass on their knowledge and experience to their colleagues. This view is shared by many of ASHM’s supporting peak professional and community organisation. Appearing at a World AIDS Day panel in December 2018, ASHM Board member Dr Liz Crock discussed the role of nurses in the age of biomedical prevention for HIV and BBVs.
“I’ve been working in HIV for a long time, but the workforce with direct experience of the HIV epidemic is ageing. We need to up-skill new generations to ensure advocacy for the needs of people affected by HIV continues within the healthcare system,” Said Dr. Crock.
Jacqui Richmond, Program Manager for Workforce Development and Health Service Delivery at EC Australia, recalls day she first heard about hepatitis C – on 16 November 1998:
“I’d been working on the ward for a couple of years and had never really heard anything about hepatitis C until the first day in a new job as a hepatitis C nurse educator! I carry that memory with me because it reminds me that for most nurses, hepatitis B and C may not be on their professional radar.”
Richmond explained that the curriculum for nursing students is crowded, with many diseases vying for priority and attention and that every nurse has a role in hepatitis C elimination; whether that be offering education and testing, supporting someone to commence treatment, or identifying and challenging stigmatising language and behaviour in health care settings.
“In 2019, the rhetoric around viral hepatitis is ‘elimination’. Our students are the nurses of the future who will lead Australia towards elimination. They need to be supported to learn about their role in caring for people with hepatitis B and C, so people affected have access to appropriate and accurate information that supports them to reduce the impact of the hepatitis B and C on their lives.” Richmond said.
"Through continued collaboration with the HIV, viral hepatitis and sexual health workforce, a new generation of midwives and nurses can come to the forefront of treatment and education
ASHM works to ensure nurses and midwives are given opportunities to work within their full scope of practice. Here we highlight the work ASHM does to upskill, empower, and otherwise celebrate the contribution of these professional healthcare providers.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council review of Registered Nurse Accreditation Standards
ASHM’s Nursing Board sub-committee submitted a response to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Councils review of Registered Nurse accreditation standards for undergraduate curriculum. The ASHM response supported submissions made by the Drug and Alcohol Nurses Association and the National LGBTI Health Alliance. ASHM reaffirms the requirements for stigma and discrimination as it relates to health care for people with mental health, alcohol and other drug concerns, members of the LGBTI community
Nurse Practitioner s100 prescribing
ASHM worked with nurse practitioner representatives from the ASHM Board, Australian College of Nurse Practitioners, Australasian Hepatology Association, Australian Sexual Health and HIV Nurses Association, and Australian College of Nursing, with support from community organisations, national nursing associations and state government representatives, to submit a letter to the Pharmaceutical Advisory Benefits Committee (PBAC) recommending nurse practitioner prescribing of s100 HIV and Hepatitis B medicines and hepatitis C medicines in correctional facilities.
Nurse practitioner prescribing of these medicines will:
1. Increase access to treatment for people with HIV and hepatitis B, particularly those residing in
remote and regional areas and those experiencing homelessness
2. Reduce delays in commencing medication (In HIV, this reduces the HIV viral load, which in turns
reduces the probability of transmission to community)
3. Increase treatment rates in the custodial system, effectively reducing the risk of transmission within
the community by those exiting the prison setting
4. Support well established and effective nurse-led models of care for hepatitis C in custodial settings
5. Minimise experiences of stigma and discrimination through the provision of treatment within
established therapeutic relationships
ASHM Online Learning Resources:
On the 1st of March ASHM launched the Removing Barriers website containing new online learning modules for addressing stigma and discrimination experienced by people with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C in healthcare settings. Nurses and midwives will be provided with the opportunity to reflect on their current practices and roles by completing the online module titled Providing Care for People with BBVs. Click here to get started!
Advanced Liver Disease for Nurses' online learning module (ALD OLM)
The Advanced Liver Disease for Nurses online learning module will provide primary care nurses with the knowledge to identify signs and symptoms of ALD and support their patients with ongoing monitoring requirements, to reduce progression of liver disease. Click here to get started!
Webinars for Midwives
In collaboration with the Australian College of Midwives, ASHM has developed two webinars targeted at midwives regarding HIV and hepatitis B, launching this May. These webinars are aimed at increasing the knowledge of midwives with minimal experience in caring for patients with hepatitis B and HIV. These webinars will provide midwives with an overview of the clinical relevance of hepatitis B and HIV including information regarding transmission, screening and testing, prevention, management and treatment.
To register for hepatitis B webinar, click here. For the HIV webinar, register here.