Nurse practitioners can perform a variety of medical services.

Nurse practitioners can perform a variety of medical services.

Nurse practitioners increasing, but not in Ashcroft

Nurse practitioners might fit into a health care team in Ashcroft, but what that team looks like is still being worked on.

The number of nurse practitioners (NPs) practicing within Interior Health (IH) continues to climb; and while there are no NPs currently scheduled to begin work at the Ashcroft Family Medical Clinic or the Ashcroft Hospital, they are the “first and most obvious part” in expanding the health care team in Ashcroft and making it work.

That is according to David Durksen, vice-chair of the Wellness and Health Action Coalition (WHAC). “Nurse practitioners, lab technicians, X-ray technicians, counsellors: all of that needs to be integrated into a central team. The Ministry of Health has mandated health authorities to deliver health care as close to home as possible, in a team-based, primary care setting.”

“Nurse practitioners are a primary care provider: we can diagnose, treat, prescribe, and refer to specialists,” says Dr. Louann Janicki, who was one of the first four nurse practitioners in IH in 2005, when the role of the NP was established there. “They’re an important access to primary care, especially for people who have no primary care provider.”

There are currently 51 NPs working in Interior Health, most in acute care areas, in special services such as cardiac, pediatric, and diabetic clinics, in residential care, and in rural and remote settings. Seven new NPs have been hired by IH since this summer.

They support Interior Health’s efforts to shift the focus of health care from hospital to community programs and services; a shift that is happening across the country as the population changes. People are living longer, often have more complex medical needs, and prefer to live at home from birth to death. Interior Health’s intent is to support people to live healthy at home and in their communities for as long as they can.

Nurse practitioners have sometimes been touted as a solution to staffing the emergency department (ED) at the Ashcroft Hospital, but Janiki says that while NPs can carry out many procedures, “We have not had nurse practitioners working exclusively in emergency departments.”

Durksen says that in the WHAC’s vision, “A nurse practitioner in our situation would not work exclusively in the emergency department, but would be working in the ED for certain parts of the week. It would make it easier to staff the ED and prevent doctors and other health care professionals from burning out because of emergency work.”

Janicki says that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. NPs work with patients to make educated health care decisions and lead a healthy life. This prevents the need for acute care and emergency treatment. If we had more NPs in a community, the need would not be so great for an emergency department.”

She adds that “Nurse practitioners have the greatest impact when working with other members of a health care team, to provide patient-centric practices that keep people out of the emergency department. Improving patient care access is always important for nurse practitioners.”

Durksen agrees. “The focus is on wellness, rather than illness. We’re very keen on that piece of it. One thing that is really necessary in this process is for each of the professions to work in collaboration with the others, and do what they do best.

“Doctors have a particular knowledge and skill set, and it’s not a good use of their time to be doing certain procedures. It’s not the best use of their education. Being part of a team allows doctors to do what they do best, and do it with excellence.”

Durksen says that the WHAC is currently working on drafting its definition of what a team-based primary care clinic would look like.

“The committee has a shared vision on that, and we are doing background work to bring that forward in a way that can be embraced by Interior Health and our doctors and our catchment area.

“There are things nurse practitioners can’t do without a doctor being there, but there is lots they can do. They would be a key part of the team, but they are only one additional part. We’re looking at making the whole team work.”



Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read