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HomeNewsNurse Practitioner Says NP's Can Help With Local Doctor Shortage

Nurse Practitioner Says NP’s Can Help With Local Doctor Shortage

KAWARTHA LAKES-When Carli Gerris heard that the City of Kawartha Lakes was in need of 18 doctors she was shocked.

“It’s frustrating because I know there’s so much need here. It makes me hurt, it makes me very sad.” Gerris told Kawartha 411.

Gerris is a Nurse Practioner (NP) and she says local health officials should be taking advantage of their expertise to help with the local doctor shortage.

“It could make a huge difference, absolutely, we should have Nurse Practitioner led clinics. We have one in Peterborough, it’s called the 360 Degree Clinic. It’s just NP’s no Doctors. There’s no reason why in my opinion there can’t be something like that in Lindsay.”

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with advanced university education who provides personalized health care to patients according to the Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario. Ontario nurse practitioners provide a full range of health care services to individuals, families and communities in a variety of settings including hospitals and community-based clinics in cities and smaller towns in Ontario.

In Ontario, NPs are authorized to:

  • Complete a comprehensive health history and assessment;
  • Formulate and communicate a diagnosis, taking a differential diagnosis into consideration;
  • Prescribe all medications including controlled drugs and substances;
  • Dispense, sell, and compound medications;
  • Set and cast fractures and dislocated joints;
  • Order and interpret all laboratory tests;
  • Admit, treat and discharge patients from hospitals; and
  • Order some diagnostic imaging tests.

According to Gerris NP’s can work independently and don’t need to work under a doctor.

The City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team says it is about to submit a proposal to the government for doubling the current NP staff ratio, from 7 NPs to 14 NPs.

“There has been a lot of community support in doing so, and I hope that once the proposal is submitted, it is received favourably.” Aasif Khakoo, Executive Director, City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team told Kawartha 411 News. “Each of our NP functions at an optimal scope of practice, as per their College standards, managing their own patient load with the support of our interprofessional care team, and with strong collaboration with the rostering physicians.”

Gerris, who has been in nursing since 2008, says NP’s are paid differently than Doctors. Physicians are self-funded, they bill OHIP and they get incentives for coming to rural areas. NP’s get paid a salary from the Ministry of Health which is far less, saving tax dollars. It also means the NP can spend more time with the patient.

“So when a patient comes in to talk to us we can talk to them about three or four different things, we can get to the root of the problem, there’s no time limit.”

Khakoo says their request is for full-time permanent positions to be located across the CKLFHT locations (Lindsay, Woodville, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon, Little Britain, Omemee), though the exact locations will be determined once the approval has been received.

“The hope is that we can get started with recruitment early in the new year, provided we have all the approvals in place.”

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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