The Community Nurse in Australia. Who are they? A rapid systematic review.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of nursing management, 2021
Issue Date:
Full metadata record


To profile the community nurse in Australia.


The need for nurses in the community health care sector is increasing in response to shorter hospital stays, an ageing population and chronic disease. The increase in demand has not been followed by appropriate workforce planning, leading to structural issues and lack of qualified nursing workforce in the community sector.


MEDLINE and ProQuest Public Health and grey literature were searched for records published between 2010-2020 relative to the profile of the community nurse in Australia. Twenty-five records (21 publications, two databases and two reports) were included in the review. Abstracted data followed the principles of workforce planning, and included demographics, qualifications and roles.

Key issues

Inconsistent definitions, self-reported data and a focus on practice nurses have contributed to data irregularities. Little is known about the specific aspects of community nursing work.


A lack of concrete data has over-shadowed a community nursing workforce crisis with implications for patients' health and safety across the lifespan.

Implications for nursing management

There is urgent need for nurse managers globally to refocus nursing recruitment to the community sector to maintain quality and ensure sustainability of the nursing workforce.
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