Patients in parts of Vancouver and the Central Coast will benefit from the advanced patient care skills of four new nurse practitioners through a $480,000 pilot funded by the Province, announced Health Minister George Abbott.
?Nurse practitioners are relatively new to British Columbia and are highly skilled nurses who can help diagnose and treat common illnesses, order investigations and prescribe medications,? said Abbott.
?Funding additional positions in Vancouver and the Central Coast as part of an exciting and innovative pilot will allow us to evaluate the full benefit of their role to both patients and the health system.?
Nurse practitioners are master?s-educated nurses who are helping meet the province?s growing need for primary health care by providing new care options for patients, particularly in situations where patients do not have a family doctor. They are independent practitioners who work with doctors as part of the primary health-care team, providing comprehensive and continuous care for patients.
The four nurse practitioners will start in late summer in the emergency department at St. Paul?s Hospital, the emergency department at Vancouver General Hospital, the Downtown Eastside Integrated Clinical Housing Support Team and the communities of Bella Bella, Ocean Falls and Klemtu.
?We are very excited to be utilizing the advanced care skills of four additional nurse practitioners in Vancouver Coastal?s health system,? said Vancouver Coastal Health president and CEO Ida Goodreau. ?The nurse practitioners will be deployed across a variety of very different areas from the downtown eastside to the rural setting of the central coast to make the most use of the diverse skill set.?
With the four new positions, British Columbia now has 51 nurse practitioners working in rural and urban settings throughout the province. British Columbia?s first-ever class of nurse practitioners graduated in 2005. The four nurse practitioners announced today cost approximately $120,000 each including salary, benefits and other employer costs.
Nurse practitioner programs are currently offered at the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria and University of Northern British Columbia. By the end of 2007, British Columbia will have the capacity to graduate 45 nurse practitioners per year.
The one-time funding is part of the Ministry of Health?s B.C. Nursing Strategy. Since 2001, the province has invested $174 million ? including $28 million in May 2007 ? into B.C.?s Nursing Strategy to help educate, retain and recruit the best qualified nurses in British Columbia. B.C.?s Nursing Strategy applies to registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners.
The B.C. Nursing Strategy investment is part of government?s Pacific Leadership Agenda to improve the health of citizens and to renew the public health system.