12 December 2022
Under The Microscope feature article

The New to General Practice Nursing Program offers support for nurses who are new, returning or transitioning to general practice within South Western Sydney.

The 12-month program provides self-directed, online access to education resources and in-house support by the dedicated Clinical Support Team at SWSPHN.

We asked program graduate Lisa Cerruto – a nurse at both Castlereagh Street Medical Centre, Liverpool and Campbelltown Medical Centre – about her experience with the New to General Practice Nursing Program.


Why did you sign up for the New to General Practice Nursing program?

I have worked primarily in aged care for 10 or more years, but I was very new to general practice so when this program was offered, I thought it would be a great way to get a better understanding of a wide range of topics which are found in general practice.


What do you enjoy about the program and have there been any challenges?

I loved the program. I found it insightful, and it helped me in many ways, as well as another nurse in my practice. The only challenge I found was time. Sometimes it’s very busy and you can have 40 or more patients in a day, so finding time was a struggle.


How do you use what you have learned in your role as a practice nurse?

New Gen certificate presentation
SWSPHN Clinical Support Coordinator Kristina Allen presenting Lisa Cerruto with her Certificate of Completion.

I have been able to utilise many things from the New Gen program in my medical centre such as:

  • The catch-up calculator
  • MBS education for health professionals
  • Guidance around how to improve reminders and recalls

Many of these things have helped significantly with putting new and improved policies and procedures into practice which, at our recent accreditation, were very helpful and we received great feedback from the accreditors.


What is the most important thing you’ve learned?

Safety and accountability. I have learnt safety is paramount in nursing especially in general practice. It is easy to make mistakes and we are all human, but we need to practice safely and be accountable when we do have an error occur. By doing this we reflect and can see where-how-why this happened and what strategies we can put in place to prevent this error from reoccurring in future.


How has SWSPHN supported you during your time in the program?

One thing I have learnt while taking part in this program is the enormous amount of support available by my PHN. Being new to general practice I was totally unaware of the help and support available and I have been pleasantly surprised and grateful for it.


Would you recommend the program to other nurses? Why?

I could not recommend this program enough. In fact, I actually recommended it to a fellow nurse in another PHN region who was very new to general practice, and she was incredibly interested but it was only offered with the SWSPHN region. She was devastated as was I. This program really helps when you have no idea what general practice entails. It should be offered in all PHNs as it could be beneficial in keeping nurses in general practice. Let’s face it, we are losing nurses left, right and centre, and COVID-19 has not helped at all, so providing this extra support could help nurses feel more empowered and confident which in turn makes them want to continue in the role.


Contact SWSPHN’s Clinical Support team to learn more:

Phone: 4632 3000
email: clinicalsupport@swsphn.com.au

Read more: New to General Practice