Vancouver Island’s frail, elderly and vulnerable residents will have enhanced access to primary health care services thanks to a $1.4 million investment in Nurse Practitioners (NPs) by Island Health.
This will improve access to Primary Care for Aboriginal people, providing services to Fort Rupert, Quatsino and the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nations in the Port Hardy area.
Island Health will hire eight additional NPs to deliver care to high-need, under-serviced populations.
“Adding Nurse Practitioners to the Island Health team will increase the number of primary care providers, enhance access to timely, primary health care in a cost-effective manner, and help decrease wait times,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.
NPs add value to the health care team, said Dr. Brendan Carr, president and CEO of Island Health.
“Nurse Practitioners are able to diagnose, order tests and prescribe medications for many health conditions that in the past were treated only by doctors,” Dr. Carr said.
The eight NPs will work in the areas of Aboriginal Health, HIV/Hepatitis C, locum support, residential care, Home First and mental health and substance use.
Mark Schultz is a Nurse Practitioner in Courtenay.
He says NPs are able to provide patients with the opportunity to receive care from a different kind of health care provider, one grounded in nursing practice.
“We combine our years of training and experience as nurses with advanced training in the prevention and treatment of disease,” he said.
“It is our goal to help Vancouver Island’s population be the healthiest it can be by working with Island Health and our medical colleagues to meet our increasingly complex health care needs.