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Survey to paint a clearer picture on eyecare nurse workforce

Australia’s nurses are at the centre of a survey that will create a snapshot of the eyecare nurse workforce and shape discussion about their future involvement in the sector.

Researcher and registered nurse Ms Heather Machin is leading the survey, the first of its kind in Australia, with associate researcher Professor Mark Daniell, both from Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

The survey, titled ‘Workforce survey of Australian nurses involved in eyecare’, is supported by the Australia Ophthalmic Nurses Association and is expected to take 15 minutes to complete.

Prof Mark Daniell.

Machin said the study would gather key information about the types of settings  nurses work in when caring for people with eyecare needs, their location and the different roles performed.

“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 said.

Machin said there was currently a wealth of data about eyecare professionals including orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmologists – but there was no data on nurses, despite being the largest healthcare provider group, and their critical role in many settings.

“We know that eyecare 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 eyecare nurse, yet they are providing care to eyecare patients,” she said.

The survey also wants to hear nurses’ views on issues such as training, their role in eyecare and what the profession can do to attract and retain nurses with specialist eyecare skills, Machin said.

“With an ageing nursing workforce, and an ageing population with greater eyecare needs, it’s critical we start planning for the future.

“We hope the information gathered from this survey will form an important part of the discussion about the provision of eyecare services in Australia – and help develop new strategies to attract and retain more nurses to eyecare.’’

To take participate in the survey, nurses must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged over 18.

To find out more about the survey visit Workforce Survey of Australian nurses involved in eye care.

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