The Ocean Health Group: Developing a Sustainable Future for the Nurse Practitioner Role in Australia [Interview][Transcript]

Suzanne_Anderton_Kylie_Palmer_The_Ocean_Road_Health_GroupGuests: Suzanne Anderton and Kylie Palmer
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Suzanne Anderton (in black) and Kylie Palmer (in blue) are both Endorsed Nurse Practitioners and co-founders of the Ocean Road Health Group with over 20 years combined experience in emergency nursing, cardiac nursing, education and forensics. They are passionate about the role of the nurse practitioner and the nursing profession in general. We aim to raise the profile of nurse practitioners among healthcare professionals and the community.

Segment overview: The Ocean Road Health Group was developed to raise the profile of the role, provide educational opportunities in regional areas and develop a sustainable future for the nurse practitioner role in Australia. Their particular interest is in the development of Nurse Practitioners’ areas of practice through education and collegiate support and, ultimately, the establishment of walk in Nurse Practitioner Lead Clinics. They will be having their first conference on the 19th and 20th of May titled ‘Making Waves 2016 – The Health Practitioner Movement’, to provide a practical and innovative forum for Nurse Practitioners, GP’s, Allied Health, Medical & Nursing students and acute and urgent care nurses.


Health Professional Radio – The Ocean Road Health Group

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. Today I’m joined by two guests who are joining me from Victoria in Australia, they are Kylie Palmer and Suzanne Anderton. Now Kylie and Suzanne are Endorsed Nurse Practitioners and they are the Co-founders of the Ocean Road Health Group. And they’re here to talk to us about a conference that’s coming up in May this year, and it’s called “Making Waves 2016” and it’s a conference for health practitioners and other clinicians. Ladies welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Kylie Palmer: Thank you.

Suzanne Anderton: Hello, thank you.

W: Now tell us a little bit about Making Waves 2016?

K: So we’ve developed this conference to run in Warrnambool, in Victoria on the 19th and 20th of May this year. And it aims at a variety of healthcare professionals rather than just singling out one group of healthcare professionals, to bring everyone together so everybody’s learning similar things and everyone’s on the same page. We’re offering a variety of different topics so theoretical and clinical and it’s gonna be really exciting.

W: Now are you looking to attract in audience of attendees from across Australia or just from Victoria?

S: Well we do have attendees from international so we have attendees from New Zealand, so we’re looking at across Victoria, Australia and internationally, if we can.

W: I see. Now is it fair to say that the role at that health practitioners are playing is not particularly well understood either by the public or in some cases indeed by clinicians?

K: So not health practitioners in general but the role of nurse practitioner is definitely not as well understood as it could be, both in the healthcare profession and throughout the community. So part of the reason we developed this business is to actually get more exposure amongst both of those domains and increase awareness about what we are and what we can offer to the healthcare industry and to the community.

W: Now I think the number of nurse practitioners in the extent to which they’re used in the public health system is variable across different states in Australia as I understand it.

S: Yeah, that is correct. The number is varied across Australia and the roles are quite varied throughout Australia as well. Kylie and I are both emergency nurse practitioners and we are part of that largest group I guess of nurse practitioners. I think nurse practitioners in the emergency department are quite well utilized but I think we could be utilized a whole lot more in the community and the healthcare sector.

W: I know, a year or two ago when I was talking to some nurse practitioners in Queensland, the largest group there seem to be in neonatal care and particularly in rural and remote communities so I guess that will be interesting to hear from the conference attendees just how it’s developed in those couple of years and where they’re functioning best?

K: Yeah, definitely rural and remote has probably where the role actually began and were the most needs for it was initially. And from there they realized that this role could be utilized in a lot of other areas than that nurses actually had a lot to offer to the healthcare industry just branching out from what they are already doing.

W: Now at Making Waves 2016, the conference that’s coming up shortly, you’re expecting a spread of practitioners not just nurse practitioners but across the board?

S: Yes. So we’ve made Making Waves a health practitioner conference. I guess as our organization believes that healthcare should not exist in sideways, that we’ve taken an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approach where we believe that we can all be educated in the same form, and each discipline takes out of it what’s relevant to them. So we’ve got quite a few different speakers and we’re trying to make this Making Waves Conference a really a health practitioner experience, inclusive of a dinner and a market showcasing the East, South West Victoria in the Great Ocean Road as well as bringing speakers from Melbourne and as far away as Victoria Crossing, talking about experiences of a remote area nurse practitioner. And so a metropolitan speaker includes dealing with stressful situations as health practitioner, where we find out half a lot of the time where we go to work, we see something quite traumatic and then we move on to the next patient. And often we won’t think about that until we go home to our families or until later on so it will be a session we’re we can learn how to deal with these situation on the spot, giving us some tools to kind of de-brief our self in those certain situations which will be quite interesting I’m sure. And we’ve also got quite experienced ED consultant from Melbourne, he’s going to talk about when things get wrong and how to deal with that sort of situation as well. As well as sports injuries and a lot of practical casting, eye examination, ear examination and hand examination, plus these lots of different things that would be involved in conference that are relevant to lots of areas in the healthcare system.

W: I’m sure it will be a fascinating event to attend. How can people get more information if they’re interested in attending?

K: So you can go to our website at You can also check us at on Facebook by searching the Ocean Road Health Group, there is a lot of information on there that will keep you up to date with what we’re currently doing and we usually post our events on Facebook so that’s an easy way for people to access information. And you can email us at

W: So the website was www.oceanroadhealth, all one word or on Facebook, Ocean Road Health Group. And if you’re interested attending, do get in touch with Kylie or Suzanne through one of those channels and they will be able to give you all the details.

K: There is a link on the website to Evenbrite, which is about online ticketing merchant.

W: Alright, Eventbrite is an easy to use online ticketing merchant I have to say, one of my favorites so follow the link there from the website to Eventbrite and you will be able to book directly online. Kylie and Suzanne thank you for time today, I do appreciate it. I know it’s a busy time for you so thank you for joining us on Health Professional Radio.

K: No worries, thank you very much.

S: Thank you. And before we go we just wanted to mention that the two days event is worth 12 CPD points or equivalent to for nursing staff and doctors can become accredited from their royal college after attending.

W: That’s always worth mentioning because everyone loves points.

S: Yes, they do.

W: So if you missed my conversation with Kylie and Suzanne there is a transcript on our website, there’s also an audio archive on YouTube and SoundCloud. And you can access both of those through the Health Professional Radio website at My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!