HOBART nurse El Thompson can add another feather to her cap, having won a best practice award in sexual health.
Ms Thompson, 29, was one of nine inspiring nursing professionals acknowledged for outstanding work in primary health care at the recent 2014 Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Best Practice Awards in nursing gala ceremony in Sydney.
The Hobart Sexual Health Service nurse was instrumental in establishing the state’s first walk-in clinic in May 2013.
Ms Thompson said the clinic’s model had proven so successful that it would be rolled out to other clinics across Tasmania.
“I am also involved in initiating, in collaboration with Tasmanian Sexual Health Service statewide director Population Health and TasCAHRD, Tasmania’s first rapid HIV testing pop-up clinic for at-risk men,” she said.
The pilot program will encourage people at risk of the virus to be tested using a rapid test at an outreach clinic in a bid to increase diagnosis of undetected cases.
“Providing patients with quick access to testing may help to overcome some of the barriers as to why they don’t present for conventional testing,” Ms Thompson said.
“The screening test will be able to generate results in less than 30 minutes – which is much quicker than usual testing, therefore reducing waiting times significantly.
“However, if the test produces reactive (positive) results, patients will have to follow up with a confirmatory blood test.”
Now in its eighth year, the annual nursing awards recognise regular nurses doing extraordinary things, with innovation and spirit, to improve the health of their patients and the communities.
This year, awards were presented to nine winners from five states, with nurses working in suburban and rural settings featured.
“One by one these primary health care nurses are changing people’s lives, helping their communities and improving the health of Australians,” APNA president Julianne Badenoch said.