Ask an expert
Most of us know what physiciansand nurses can do for our health,but are less aware of what nursepractitioners can do—or why theyare so important to Alberta’s healthsystem.
“They provide a lot of differentservices depending on where itis they’re working,” says DianneDyer, president of the College andAssociation of Registered Nurses ofAlberta.
Nurse practitioners are registerednurses (RNs) with advanced education,skills and knowledge. Unlike RNs,nurse practitioners in Alberta candiagnose illnesses and injuries,order tests for patients and writeprescriptions for most medications(except for narcotics and controlledsubstances).
They are also able to refer patientsto physician specialists and performprocedures such as stitching woundsor putting casts on fractured bones. Aswell, they are qualified to do routinecheck-ups and monitor the health ofpatients of all ages.
“We look at treatments in the contextof prevention and health promotion,”says Gregg Trueman, PhD, an acutecare nurse practitioner and associateprofessor at Mount Royal University’sSchool of Nursing.
Dyer says nurse practitionersconsider how an illness affects patientsof all ages, their families and theircommunities, and make decisions andreferrals accordingly. They consultwith other health-care professionals
What can a nurse practitioner
do for me?
when needed, provide ongoingcare, and help patients prevent andmanage illnesses, including chronicconditions such as diabetes, asthmaand hypertension.
The Nurse Practitioner Associationof Alberta says people who see nursepractitioners for their health care havefewer emergency room visits, shorterhospital stays and lower medicationcosts.
Nurse practitioners can be found inhospitals, community health centresand acute care and long-term carecentres throughout the province.
For more information on where tofind a nurse practitioner in your area,call Health Link Alberta at 866-408-LINK (5465).
— Yasmin Jaswal
Nurse practitioners have advanced education, knowledge and skills beneficial to you.