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Open Access Research article

A qualitative study of pharmacy nurse providers of community based post-birth care in Queensland, Australia

Maria Zadoroznyj1*, Wendy Brodribb2, Lauren Falconer3, Lauren Pearce3, Casey Northam3 and Sue Kruske4

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Social Science Research and School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

2 Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

3 School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

4 Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:144  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-144

Published: 10 July 2013



Reduced length of hospital stay following childbirth has placed increasing demands on community-based post-birth care services in Australia. Queensland is one of several states in Australia in which nurses are employed privately by pharmacies to provide maternal and child health care, yet little is known about their prevalence, attributes or role. The aims of this paper are to (1) explore the experiences and perspectives of a sample of pharmacy nurses and GPs who provide maternal and child health services in Queensland, Australia (2) describe the professional qualifications of the sample of pharmacy nurses, and (3) describe and analyze the location of pharmacy nurse clinics in relation to publicly provided services.


As part of a state-wide evaluation of post-birth care in Queensland, Australia, case studies were conducted in six regional and metropolitan areas which included interviews with 47 key informants involved in postnatal care provision. We report on the prevalence of pharmacy nurses in the case study sites, and on the key informant interviews with 19 pharmacy nurses and six General Practitioners (GPs). The interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically.


The prevalence of pharmacy nurses appears to be highest where public services are least well integrated, coordinated and/or accessible. Pharmacy nurses report high levels of demand for their services, which they argue fill a number of gaps in the public provision of maternal and child health care including accessibility, continuity of carer, flexibility and convenient location. The concerns of pharmacy nurses include lack of privacy for consultations, limited capacity for client record keeping and follow up, and little opportunity for professional development, while GPs expressed concerns about inadequate public care and about the lack of regulation of pharmacy based care.


Pharmacy based clinics are a market-driven response to gaps in the public provision of care. Currently there are no minimum standards or qualifications required of pharmacy nurses, no oversight or regulation of their practice, and no formal mechanisms for communicating with other providers of postnatal care. We discuss the implications and possible mechanisms to enhance best-practice care.

Postnatal care; Pharmacy nurse; Child health clinic