Nurse Practitioner (NP) Lea Young has always had a passion to make a positive difference to the health care service, which eventually led her to the NP pathway. She is now happily practicing as a Wound Management NP in the Southern Tasmania, running clinics as well as doing home visits to those who cannot access a wound specialist.
Tell us a little bit about your nursing journey.
I worked as a Community Health Nurse and Practice Nurse for 30 years which is where I developed my passion for chronic wounds. It didn’t take me long to realise that if the correct treatment was instigated, we could make a huge difference to the healing potential, in turn improving the quality of life of the person with the wound.
To improve my wound management knowledge, I completed a graduate certificate in wound care through Monash University. This eventually led to a Master’s degree. I was under the impression that this would enable me to make a positive difference to the level of care provided through the health service. However, it was soon evident that the only difference I could make was through the care I gave to my own clients/patients, and not to the general population.
This prompted me to undertake a Master’s in Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) through La Trobe University. I was endorsed by AHPRA to work as a NP but there were no NP roles funded through the health service until two years later, when I was on the verge of starting my own business. I was successful in obtaining a NP position, so I put the business on hold for the next four years.
Tell us about your current role as a NP.
I work in southern Tasmania, running clinics in community health centres, as well as doing home and nursing home visits to people for whom it would be detrimental to attend a clinic or who are unable to attend a clinic. I also work in the out-patients wound clinic at the Royal Hobart Hospital once a week. I provide a collaborative service with Podiatrists and Lymphoedema therapists for people also requiring these specialist services.
The most rewarding aspect for me is being able to make a real difference. I provide a service to people who would not otherwise be able to access a wound specialist.
A unique aspect of my role is the home visits for people who are not able to attend out-patient clinics, which helps prevent hospital admissions for many people living in aged care facilities.
Earlier, you mentioned about a business you had to put on hold to accept another opportunity. Would you like to share more about it?
I recently decided to go ahead and start my own wound care business that I put on hold four years ago. For those people who do not wish to wait for a public wound clinic appointment, and who are able to pay for the service, I hold a private wound clinic in a General Practice and provide home and Nursing Home visits.
In addition, I offer a wound management education service in southern Tasmania. This has been embraced by Nursing Homes and is available to anyone requiring the service.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become a NP?
I always tell nursing students and others that are curious about working as a NP to follow their dream.
If they see a gap in health services where a NP could make a difference and meet the needs of the community, then they should pursue it.
How do you think health consumers will benefit from seeing Nurse Practitioner?
Many of my patients say that they are happy to see a NP as they are given a high level of individualised care. The NP gives hands-on care and health advice as well as doing a holistic assessment and providing a management plan.