Acute and Episodic Care – Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Services
NFHT Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) provide both urgent and booked appointments for patients requiring primary care medical services. NPs and RNs work alongside the family physicians in each of our associated medical clinics. Depending on the nature of your concern, at the NFHT, when you call the medical clinic for an appointment, you may have the option to see a family physician, a nurse practitioner or a registered nurse.
Many patients will often comment that they appreciate seeing an NP or RN because of the amount of time that they are able to offer them to address all of their health concerns. The NP or RN works with your family physician and documents care into the same electronic health record as your family physician so that your medical record is complete.
NFHT NPs and RNs help make it easier and faster to get the care you need. If patients are seen by a Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse where appropriate, the family physicians are then more available to see patients who have concerns or issues that are beyond the scope of practice of the nurse.
What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?
A Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a Registered Nurse in the Extended Class with advanced university education specializing in Primary Care. NPs working in a family health team work independently and in collaboration with family physicians and other members of the health care team, to serve a diverse population of patients.
On a typical day we manage a variety of health services and see many different types of patients, such as: a toddler with an acute medical concern such as a new rash or fever; a woman for cervical cancer screening (PAP test) or for an Intrauterine Device (IUD) insertion; a person who feels they may be depressed, an elderly gentleman who has had falls at home; or a person with diabetes who has been experiencing high blood sugars and may need a change in medication.
- Diagnose illnesses and injuries;
- Perform physical and routine check-ups;
- Order and interpret certain diagnostic tests;
- Provide counselling and education;
- Provide treatment for common infections and chronic conditions;
- Order procedures;
- Refer patients to other health care professionals and specialists;
- Prescribe medications;
- Manage chronic diseases; and,
- Order blood products and oxygen.
There are other responsibilities that NPs can perform such as treating, transferring and discharging patients from hospital, casting fractures and reducing dislocations; however, these services are not normally provided in a primary care setting such as a Family Health Team.
What is a Registered Nurse?
Registered Nurses work in both the medical clinics and with the interprofessional team as part of other programs. NFHT RNs perform services such as immunizations and injections, dressing/wound management, well baby assessments and lab test follow up. Registered Nurses are excellent sources of knowledge about health conditions, diseases, prevention and wellness and are available to spend time with patients to help them understand their disease or health concern, how to best manage it and where to access other services or resources.