January 11, 2017
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a nurse with advanced university education who works both independently and in collaboration with other health professionals to provide patients and families with quality health care services. Ontario has more than 2,000 Nurse Practitioners who work in a diverse range of community and hospital settings across the province.
We asked a few members of the NP team at our Health Sciences Centre to share thoughts about their role and experience. This week, we’re featuring Allyson Adduono.
Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to become a nurse. The areas of nursing that I have had the opportunity to work in are cardiology and medical floors; critical care, and cardiovascular surgical intensive care units. The greatest and most challenging experience was being a nurse in the United States – Tampa, Florida for a 6 year period. A pivotal moment for my career was when I decided to move back to my home city of Thunder Bay. I wanted to take the knowledge and experiences that I learned to expand my nursing career. I knew that I wanted to make a larger impact and a positive change in the health care provided to patients. My current role with the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care allows me to do just that.
Tell us about your role with the Centre for Complex Diabetes Care?
The Centre for Complex Diabetes Care (CCDC) is both an inpatient and outpatient service for complex diabetic patients who often have other barriers to health care such as mental illness. My role at the CCDC as a Nurse Practitioner is to triage all patients admitted to our program and conduct a comprehensive health and physical assessment. This includes diagnosis chronic diseases and providing treatment both pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies. I also develop and implement a plan of care in collaboration with the patient, family, physicians and specialists within the inter-professional team that consist of the CCDC services. As part of my role at the CCDC I have the privilege to be involved in research, evaluation, leadership and collaborative activities with regards to diabetes.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
A challenging part of my practice is determining a clear and defined role within the CCDC and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Nurse practitioners have been available in Ontario since the early 1970s and were utilized in northern and under serviced communities where access to health care services were lacking. The nurse practitioner role has vastly expanded in the last 40 plus years to that of rural communities, family health care practitioners and in specialized services in hospital settings. As new programs develop and specialized services become available nurse practitioners are added as an integral part of the collaborative team but left mainly up to the nurse practitioner to be a strong leader and develop their own unique addition to the team.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
The most rewarding aspect of my profession is being able to communicate and provide specialized patient family centred care. As a nurse practitioner I feel that I am uniquely suited for facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration between all health care professionals and have a full understanding of the continuum of care. Communication is the key to be able to translate concerns from the patient, nurse, dietitian, pharmacist, psychosocial support, rehabilitation teams and physicians within the health care system to provide the best possible plan of care for the patient.
I have also learned a specialized skill set such as shared focus – mutually agreed goals to work together to obtain a mutual benefit. This skill has assisted me with developing a trusting therapeutic relationship with patients that have not been successful with obtaining their healthcare goals in the past. Within the past 5 years I have been able to experience my patient’s life altering changes – a truly rewarding experience.
What advice do you have for those considering a career as a Nurse Practitioner?
Being a nurse practitioner is both a rewarding and challenging career. During my preceptorship as a nurse practitioner I was told by one of my mentors that the key to making the best clinical judgments is: “knowing that medicine is both a science and an art”. In my experience the art component is started with the first encounter and being able to obtain the best possible medical history from the patient as well as building a therapeutic relationship. This is obtained by using sensitive language and a patient centered approach. This creates the basis for being able to appropriately coordinate the interdisciplinary health care team to serve the patient needs. This is an art that I am still creating and always keeping in mind that the art is created by both the patient and the health care practitioners.