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Issue 12  Winter 2010
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Changes for nurse practitioners

Nurse practitioners are now able to write workers' compensation medical certificates for injured workers in Queensland.

The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 was amended on 3 November 2009 to allow nurse practitioners to write certificates for injured workers with a minor injury-meaning an injury of a person that does not require the hospitalisation of the person as an in-patient to properly treat the injury (see section 132 (3) of the Act).

The Workers' compensation certificate protocol for Nurse Practitioners has been developed jointly by Q-COMP and Queensland Health. This protocol outlines the conditions under which a nurse practitioner can write certificates for an injured worker under the Queensland workers' compensation scheme.

The protocol states that nurse practitioners must work within their scope of practice and comply with the following conditions:

  • A nurse practitioner may only issue a workers' compensation certificate for a minor injury:
    (a) where assessment of the injury is within the clinical scope of the position in which the nurse practitioner is engaged; and
    (b) for a total period of incapacity not exceeding 10 calendar days.
  • A nurse practitioner may not issue a workers' compensation certificate for a latent onset injury.
  • Where a worker is not fit to resume their pre-injury duties after a maximum period of 10 calendar days incapacity, a nurse practitioner must immediately refer the worker to a medical practitioner for assessment and any ongoing management.
  • It is not intended that nurse practitioners will be involved in any workplace rehabilitation decisions (such as developing a suitable duties program).

To access the protocol, the nurse practitioner workers' compensation certificate or to order hardcopies of the certificate visit our website.

We have also designed a free e-learning course for nurse practitioners. This is available on our e-learning website Comprehend. Courses on Comprehend are free and are also available for insurers.

How this will affect you

Because nurse practitioners won't be involved in setting suitable duties or rehabilitation, you may not be affected by this change to the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act. Q-COMP wants to ensure that all our stakeholders are aware of Act amendments even if it does not directly impact your role.

If you would like to know anything further about these changes please contact us on 1300 789 881.

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Feedback

We welcome your feedback on the Q-COMP Rehabilitation Report.

Contact us at:
rehab@qcomp.com.au
or phone 1300 361 235

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Disclaimer

The information provided in this publication is distributed by Q-COMP as an information source only. The information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.

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1300 361 235.