I rise today to support the launch of a national campaign to raise awareness for the role of nurse practitioners in our country’s health care system.
The campaign – whose slogan is “Nurse Practitioners: It’s About Time!” – is led by the Canadian Nurses Association and on Prince Edward Island, is being promoted in conjunction with the Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island.
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 illness.
Nurse practitioners are part of health-care teams in a variety of settings, including community clinics, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and hospitals.
They improve access to quality health care, reduce wait times and their inclusion in the health system leads to a greater number of health-care options and enhanced care for our patients.
Nurse practitioners have been practicing in our province since 2006. Currently, we have five nurse practitioners in primary health care settings and one at UPEI’s school of nursing and we are recruiting to fill four other positions.
In September 2011, UPEI established a Masters of Nursing Nurse Practitioner stream. Three students are set to graduate in summer 2013 and it is our hope that they will stay and work in our province.
This past December, I had the pleasure of announcing a new pilot project to allow nurse practitioners to take on an independent caseload of patients while still collaborating with a family doctor for issues outside their scope of practice.
The pilot began in early 2013 with a single nurse practitioner in the Charlottetown area and we have already seen benefits for our community and the patients who have seen increased access to health care services.
Today, we are lucky to have with us in the gallery:
- Cheryl Banks, President of ARNPEI
- Audrey Fraser, ARNPEI
- Dr. Donna Murnaghan, chair, HPEI Board of Directors and Associate Professor of UPEI’s School of Nursing
As well as nurse practitioners:
- Melanie McCarthy, Harbourside Clinic Summerside
- Melinda Ells, Central Queen’s Health Centre
- Rhonda Hamilton, Polyclinic Charlottetown
- Karen Edwards Moore, Parkdale Clinic
- Terri Kean, UPEI associate professor teaching the NP program
And UPEI Nurse Practitioner students:
- Laurie Brehaut;
- Kelsey MacPhee; and
- Marion MacDonald
Nurse practitioners are in integral part of our Island health care system, helping to ensure that every Islander has access to primary health care services close to home.
The Province of Prince Edward Island looks forward to continuing to grow our nurse practitioner community and work closely with our nursing groups so we can continue to provide better access to better care for all Islanders. Thank you.