Steinbach MLA and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen stated that the Manitoba government was proud to celebrate the fourth annual Nurse Practitioner Day on November 18 and to recognize the essential contribution made by these health professionals to the provincial health system.
“November 18 was a day to recognize and celebrate the tireless work of nurse practitioners and all nurses in communities across Manitoba,” said Goertzen. “Since the profession was legislated in 2005, these health-care professionals have contributed to making the health system more efficient and have been essential in making services more accessible in rural areas.”
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with a master’s or doctoral level education and clinical experience that allows them to diagnose illnesses, treat conditions, prescribe medications, admit patients to hospitals and order diagnostic tests. They offer a range of services and work to complement the services provided by family physicians and other providers.
“Nurse practitioners have proven that they are effective, efficient and sustainable. We are vital to the health-care system in Manitoba and Canada, not just to fill a gap but we have proven ourselves as dedicated primary-care providers who can provide a range of services to Manitobans including treatment and diagnosis to name a few,” said Dr. Donna Alden-Bugden, president, Nurse Practitioners Association of Manitoba. “We have a scope of practice that is broad enough to care for most of Manitobans’ health-care needs. We are hopeful that the NP role will continue to expand in Manitoba and across Canada.”
Nurse practitioners have also been part of a provincial initiative to improve access to care for Manitobans, the minister said. This initiative helps incorporate non-physician providers, like nurse practitioners, into fee-for-service primary-care clinics to provide team-based care delivery. There are currently 10 nurse practitioners hired through this initiative that work in primary-care clinics in rural Manitoba, Goertzen added.
Over the years, regional health authorities have expanded the integration of nurse practitioners in their local health systems. For example, the Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) region has hired seven new nurse practitioners during the past six months, Goertzen noted.
“With the support of the Manitoba government, Prairie Mountain Health is proud to employ a total of 19 nurse practitioners who provide comprehensive assessment, care, treatment and referral as needed to individuals and families,” said Penny Gilson, CEO, PMH. “Due to this increase, we’ve recently been able to expand services of the mobile clinic to include two new First Nation communities, bringing the total number of communities our mobile clinic serves to seven.”
More than 185 nurse practitioners work in Manitoba health authorities and in various settings including hospitals, primary-care clinics and personal care homes.