Researchers examine how nurse practitioners are improving access to the health-care system
Some of those answers were discussed this morning during a virtual conference, held in conjunction with National Nursing Week, about the latest research on how nurse practitioners (NPs) improve patients’ access to care, and how to make better use of them throughout the system. Thirty-two participants, including leaders from across Canada and chief executive officers of Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN), held a lively discussion on how best to move research into policy, and the urgent need to increase timely access to primary care services across the province. They heard from a panel of experts including Alba DiCenso, a nursing researcher at McMaster University who has examined the NP role for decades; Pamela Pogue, President of the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario; and
“Nurse Practitioners are the most over-evaluated health professional role that exists,” DiCenso says, adding that it is time to “fast track” action on this front. During the conference, Pogue shared the role of NPs in primary health care and acute care, and Butcher discussed the Sudbury NP-led clinic’s experience and the community’s high level of support and satisfaction.
“Much research has been done on how nurse practitioners’ utilization improve timely and quality access to our health-care system,” says
NPs are RNs with advanced education and decision-making skills in assessment, diagnosis and health-care management. They have legislative authority to treat common illnesses and injuries, write prescriptions, order lab tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Last summer, the first NP-led clinic in
“NP-led clinics are just one example of how research can build evidence that will lead to healthier communities,” says
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in