Nurse practitioners provide a unique approach to care

UVic nurse practitioner students talk about the role of an np

There has been a significant amount of debate in the media as of late about the difficulty BC citizens are experiencing in accessing a primary care provider. Most of the focus has been on the lack of family physicians and that thousands of BC residents are without one. Whilst this is true, there is more to the story.

Since the 1960’s Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have been providing primary care to Canadians. They were primarily utilized in rural and remote locations and in towns and cities where physicians did not wish to work. Over the past 20 years, NPs have become an integral part of primary and acute care services in both rural and urban areas across the country.

NPs provide a unique approach to care by integrating a nursing approach that is based on relationships with patients, with medical skills. NPs utilize advanced assessment skills, diagnose, support patients in management of disease, prescribe diagnostics and prescriptions whilst also supporting wellness goals. NPs work alongside other healthcare professionals as part of collaborative care teams but can also work independently. Evidence demonstrates that NPs improve access to primary health care, reduce pressures on the health care system, and are valued and trusted by patients.

NPs across the country have been advocating for Canadians to have access to a primary care provider, either an MD or an NP. In an attempt to help British Columbians understand the value of NPs, University of Victoria NP students put together videos describing the NP role. We are excited to share this with you!

By Susan Prendergast, PhD, NP