The “Special” Nursing Role

Nurse practitioners and doctors have often been likened today. In Alberta, nurse practitioners have been called to be “physician replacements” as the number of physician residents in the hospital have lowered. However, nurse practitioners who have the passion to work and see patients as a whole person would not accept this term for them to be called.

For instance, Nurse Molesky, a nurse practitioner for almost two decades in Alberta Canada. She specializes with neonates in Stollery Children’s and the Royal Alexandra hospitals. Compared to a regular nurse, as a nurse practitioner, her day would be like managing neonates as well as nurses in making their tasks such as giving medications, feeding the infants as well as carrying out doctor’s order.

Nurse practitioners have become rampant nowadays as the focus of health promotion is more on primary care. Doctors who cannot reach other areas especially in the rural part are replaced by nurse practitioners to deliver health care needs. The demands for training as well as better education have been given to nurse practitioners as time goes by. They were often employed for years now due to comparable work output to physicians under a lower professional cost. However, looking back to the early years of nurse practitioners, there was no law that states that their practice is a unique one or even under law.

Universities have begun opening programs for nurse practitioners in 1970s. The nurses were trained in advanced skills. After nurses have finished the program, they began working in northern Alberta and Canada. There were few physicians working there and the skills of nurse practitioners have been honed as times goes by matching up the expertise of physicians. Even with this impression, Nurse Molesky would still consider paediatricians and neonatologists to be partners to her expertise. Consultations were still made when it comes to plan of care.

In the 1980s there was no concrete legal basis as to what extent is the job of a nurse practitioner. It was at this time when the program for nurse practitioner has been closed. At the dawn of 1996, Alberta became the province to first recognize nurse practitioners and their practice. The province term this as “extensive service”. This has moved the nurse practitioners to practice in the urban setting too.

According to Cynthia Timinski, a nurse practitioner in the community, the time that she spends to her patients amounted to 30 minutes compared to doctors who would visit patients in an average of 10 minutes. Aside from the visitation practices, community nurse practitioners collaborate with doctors when it comes to independent nursing care.

Upon looking on the nurse practitioners capabilities, they have reached a status that must be respected. Their presence in the shortage of doctors to interpret blood results or even recommend or institute medical treatment have greatly reduced the crippling health care. With this demand, there is still a challenge to make a competent funding model in sustaining nurse practitioners on their jobs.

The average pay of a nurse practitioner range from $85,000 to $126,000, this demand is still a hurdle to conquer for nurse practitioners leaders especially in the provincial part.

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Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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