The Benefit of Nurse Practitioners

I came across this post in The Guardian that discusses the benefits of nurse practitioners to fill the void of not enough family physicians. Where have all the GP’s gone and why are so many in the medical field specializing? Perhaps the provinces and medical schools should create incentives for medical students to go into family medicine.

If this is working in PEI, why not elsewhere in Canada? No matter what province, there are not enough family physicians and often individuals end up at a walk-in clinic or the ER and wait hours to be seen/treated and these visits create a burden on the already overtaxed healthcare system and created a backlog. The ER is for true emergencies.

According to the Canadian Nurses Association, more than four million Canadians are without access to a primary health-care provider, while those that have one often have difficulty accessing care, notes the CNA. The result is an unsustainable, heavily burdened and an overcrowded health-care system. Change is needed and NPs could be a good solution.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education, advanced knowledge and nursing experience, who work collaboratively with other nursing colleagues and health-care providers. They deliver and coordinate high-quality care, order tests, prescribe medications, and diagnose and manage chronic illnesses. NPs are part of health-care teams in a variety of settings, including community clinics, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and hospitals.

I hope to see other provinces go in the direction PEI has and hire NPs to fill a void in the current healthcare system while at the same time providing and improving access to care.