AbstractI would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself and to thank Jeri Dunkin for asking me to be involved with the Journal. My name is Professor Karen Francis and I am a rural nurse located in Australia. I am an academic employed by Monash University which is located in the State of Victoria on the eastern side of the nation. I am the Head of the Monash rural School of Nursing and Midwifery, and I am an active researcher who is interested in education, workforce and the management of chronic disease. I have been an advocate for rural nursing and midwifery since the early 1990s when Professor Desley Hegney established the Australian Association of Rural Nurses. In this inaugural report I have chosen to report on two major issues that have significant implications for nurses and midwives in Australia particularly for those working and living in rural environments. 2010 is a federal election year which may result in a change in leadership and the management of the nation. Any change creates levels of tension among the population and within the political parties aspiring for success. Government elections provide valuable windows of opportunity for individuals, groups and organisations to influence policy. There is a great deal of political lobbying occurring with stakeholders aligning with political parties and candidates who appear to be paying attention to their vested interests. Coupled with the growing frenzy surrounding the lead up the Federal election, nurses and midwives are preparing for a monumental change in the regulation of the profession.
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