What are nurse practitioners?
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who have additional education and nursing experience, which enables them to:
• Autonomously diagnose and treat illnesses
• Order and interpret tests
• Prescribe medications
• Perform medical procedures
NPs are health-care professionals who treat the whole person, an approach that includes:
• Addressing needs relating to a person’s physical and mental health
• Gathering medical history
• Focusing on how an illness affects a person’s life and family
• Offering ways for a person to lead a healthy life
• Teaching persons how to manage chronic illness
NPs are also educators and researchers who can be consulted by other health-care team members.
What kind of health-care services does a nurse practitioner provide?
NPs provide a wide range of direct care services to people at every stage of life. In addition to treating illnesses, they teach individuals and their families about healthy living, preventing disease and managing illness. NPs bring together medical knowledge with the values and skills of nursing. NPs are also leaders, consultants and researchers who incorporate new knowledge into their practice.
Do nurse practitioners replace other health-care professionals? Will I still be able to see my doctor?
NPs work with, rather than replace, other health-care providers. They are part of a collaborative team that includes registered nurses, doctors, social workers and others. While seeing an NP, you can still see your family doctor or any other health-care provider.
What are the benefits of nurse practitioners?
NPs bring value to Canadians and their health-care system. Studies1 about these benefits and patients’ experiences tell us that NPs:
• Involve patients in decisions about their care
• Improve access to primary health care
• Reduce pressures on the health-care system
• Are valued and trusted by patients
• Provide high-quality management of chronic illness (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure)
1Source: Canada Nurses Association
Kathy completed her Bachelor of Nursing with Distinction in 2000 from the University of Calgary.
Kathy has a love for preventative medicine. Her goal with patients is to address the underlying cause of their health problems, moving away from just focusing on treating symptoms. She recognizes the uniqueness of each patient, taking a personalized approach to health. She looks at the link between lifestyle factors and health and wellbeing.
For her complete bio, take a look at our staff page.