Meet Nurse Practitioner Sara Flatley, who works with nursing staff and GPs to improve health outcomes for people living in residential care.
The specialised clinical role of Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a rare benefit to residents in aged care. Montefiore first initiated an NP service in 2012, and gained a national Better Practice Award in 2014 recognising this innovative program that focuses on early intervention and minimising hospitalisation for people living in residential care.
Sara Flatley joined Montefiore in 2018, where she works with nursing staff, residents’ GPs and specialists to provide advanced clinical assessment, undertake diagnostic work and therapeutic management plans, make clinical referrals and review and prescribe medications.
How do you become a Nurse Practitioner?
An NP is a Registered Nurse with a further degree – in my case a Masters of Advanced Practice from the UK.
What’s your role at Montefiore?
We work with our nursing and clinical staff as well as residents’ GPs and specialists to help manage their care. Day to day this can involve anything from wound management to review of medications, assisting with case management and falls prevention strategies.
How does your work help residents?
The overall aim is to improve care outcomes and help ensure they stay out of hospital as much as possible. Older people are more susceptible to hospital-acquired infections, and of course being treated here is much easier and more comfortable.
Describe your average work day?
I spend time at each campus throughout the week doing my regular rounds, juggling travel to attend to more urgent cases. I check the overnight reports for progress notes (there may be up to 100 to review) and prioritise who to see first, then check for referrals for any new cases. On average I see 8-10 people per day, for everything from a quick check-in to more lengthy assessment and treatment.
Most rewarding part of your role?
Sometimes making even a small change to someone’s treatment or medication can make a big difference. Recently one patient had a skin tear that was on the verge of requiring skin graft surgery – we managed to turn it around with wound care which was a much better outcome with less pain, less stress and reduced risk of further infection.
And the most challenging aspect?
As NPs are still relatively uncommon, many GPs are unfamiliar with what we do. So it can be a challenge learning how each GP prefers to work and how we can best collaborate for the benefit of our patients.