Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, has issued the following statement in recognition of national nurse practitioners’ week from Nov. 9-13, 2021:
“National nurse practitioners’ week celebrates the invaluable work of nurse practitioners and their incredible contributions to our public health-care system. They play a critical role providing primary care and day-to-day care for British Columbians.
“Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who diagnose, treat, and manage disease and illness, prescribe medications, order/interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests, and initiate referrals to specialists.
“Their role has been particularly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which they have continued to provide high-quality health care to people and families throughout the province. I know the emotional and physical toll that this pandemic has brought to front-line workers, including nurse practitioners, and I commend their dedication, compassion and leadership.
“Our government is taking action alongside nurses to answer the call and transform how health care will be delivered in the years ahead and the important role nurse practitioners will play.
“The Province has become a national leader in including nurse practitioners in the health-care system, through our team-based care approach. Our compensation rates for nurse practitioners are also among the highest in the country and we offer flexible contract models to better meet the needs of nurse practitioners.
“In 2020, we opened three nurse practitioners primary care clinics, which have benefitted more than 6,000 people already. The first one opened in Nanaimo in June 2020 and the remaining two opened in Surrey and Victoria in September 2020. As of September 2021, and according to the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC, Nanaimo has attached 1,916 patients, Surrey has attached 1,301 patients, and Victoria has attached 2,975 patients.
“As of September 2021, 103 FTE nurse practitioners have joined primary care networks throughout the province and 52 FTE nurse practitioners have joined other primary care clinics, such as urgent and primary care centres, community health centres, First Nation primary health centres and nurse practitioners primary care clinics.
“In addition, we are adding new training seats throughout B.C., enhancing recruitment strategies and improving the education curriculum and clinical placements. Since 2017, with these efforts, we have seen the number of nurse practitioners who are licensed to practice in the province rise from 414 to 745, which is a boost of 80%.
“Nurse practitioners are a critical building block in the foundation of our health system. As we are wrapping up this awareness week, we recognize the strengths and abilities of our nurse practitioners, and humbly thank you for your continued commitment to helping British Columbians be well and stay healthy.”