Friday, October 12, 2012

Nurse practitioners to admit, discharge patients

Ministry of Health

VICTORIA - New regulations will give health authorities the ability to provide nurse practitioners (NPs) with the ability to admit and discharge patients from health-care facilities, working in collaboration with physicians and other health-care providers, announced Health Minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid.

The regulations are expected to help enhance health services and meet patient need by easing congestion and reducing workloads, especially for rural regions. The majority of NPs in B.C. have the education and competencies required to admit and discharge, but did not have the ability legislated.

British Columbia is the second jurisdiction in Canada to have qualified nurse practitioners admit and discharge patients from hospitals, after Ontario.

Nurse practitioners were introduced to B.C. in 2005 to assist in improving access to primary health-care services. In fall 2011, the government of British Columbia passed legislation allowing nurse practitioners to work more fully within their existing scope of practice. In May 2012, the provincial government announced a $22.2 million to fund 190 NPs over the next three years to provide better access to health care for British Columbian families.

NPs meet many health-care needs of the community, increasing access to quality primary and community health care. NPs provide services from a holistic nursing perspective, integrating elements such as diagnosing, prescribing, ordering diagnostic tests for treating most common medical conditions for patients throughout the lifespan. Nurse practitioners also work collaboratively in a broad variety of settings including acute care, residential care, mental health and community practice, with physicians and other health-care providers.

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