Ministry of Health
VICTORIA – Soon an additional 45 new nurse practitioners will be working around British Columbia, as part of government’s commitment to substantially increase the number of nurse practitioners employed in the province.
“Nurse practitioners are a valuable part of our health-care team,” said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. “Adding 45 more nurse practitioner will bolster resources available – particularly in primary and community care settings – to improve access to care. Over the next three years, we will be funding a total of 190 new nurse practitioner positions.”
The new nurse practitioners are being funded by a $22.2-million initiative, first announced in May, which committed to fund 190 nurse practitioner positions over the next three fiscal years.
The nurse practitioners will be working in primary health-care settings, including medical clinics, mental health clinics, residential care and First Nations’ health services. These nurse practitioners are expected to start working as soon as possible, once contracts are signed with health authorities.
“We know that many nurse practitioners have been frustrated by the lack of opportunities for the profession in the province, and this will go a long way towards solving that problem. My hope is that more British Columbians will find out how nurse practitioners can help them better access the health-care services they need,” said Rosemary Graham, president of the British Columbia Nurse Practitioner Association.
Nurse practitioners were introduced to B.C. in 2005 to assist in improving access to primary health-care services. Currently, 252 nurse practitioners are registered with the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. This province has the ability to educate up to 45 nurse practitioners a year, 15 at each of the University of British Columbia, the University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Victoria.
In October 2012, the ministry announced new regulations to allow nurse practitioners to admit and discharge patients from health-care facilities, working in collaboration with physicians and other health-care providers.
British Columbia is the second jurisdiction in Canada to have qualified nurse practitioners admit and discharge patients from hospitals, after Ontario.