Defining urology nursing practice roles in Australia and New Zealand


T White, Private Bag 9014, Hastings 4156, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.


There is confusion surrounding the roles and clinical responsibilities of urology nurses employed in Australia and New Zealand. A study of members of the Australian and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society (ANZUNS Inc.) was undertaken to provide baseline information about their clinical practices. A descriptive survey utilizing a questionnaire consisting of 28 questions was sent to all 623 members on the ANZUNS Inc. database. Demographic data, information on role development and the current clinical skill set of each nurse was collected. Information was provided on education received to perform these various activities and which role respondents believed most appropriate to carry out the activity, e.g. RN, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner (NP) or doctor.

Respondents identified over 35 job titles with 26% of roles created independently. One-third of these job titles had no guidelines for role development. Almost 80% of respondents have been working in a urology setting for longer than 5 years, with almost 60% holding specialist nursing positions. The preparation for a variety of identified advanced clinical practices varied widely between respondents from being self-taught to receiving informal ‘on the job’ training and undertaking formal competency programmes. Similarly, there was wide disparity between respondent's opinions about which role was best suited to perform these clinical practices. This study highlights the need to introduce consistency across the urological nursing workforce in Australia and New Zealand to standardize role titles and associated clinical responsibilities, with clear guidelines required to define appropriate preparation for advanced practice.