Nurse Practitioner Spotlight: Colleen Morrow

November 15, 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 Colleen Morrow.


Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?

I trained to be a Nurse Practitioner 7 years ago after almost 20 years of working as a Registered Nurse.  I love caring for patients and enjoy learning.  I felt that with further training I could make more of a difference in the lives of my patients.  Being a Nurse Practitioner has rewarded me with increased knowledge, new challenges, and provides me the opportunity to work both independently and as a team member.  My work as a Nurse Practitioner is very fulfilling.   

Tell us about your role with the hemodialysis program:

My role as Nurse Practitioner in the Hemodialysis Department is to assist with the management of treatments and to collaborate care ensuring that the best care is provided to our patients. 

We provide hemodialysis for around 200 patients with end stage renal disease.  I assist with their hemodialysis treatments that change according to their individual needs as well as manage the patient’s ongoing health care concerns as they occur.  Many of these patients have multiple chronic diseases that require frequent adaptations and monitoring. Through my role, I am able to implement changes according to their current needs. 

I work with a fantastic team that includes 5 Nephrologists, and a hardworking pharmacy group that includes 2 Pharmacists and a Pharmacy Technician.  The team also includes 2 Dietitians, 2 Social Workers, skilled Registered Nurses, 3 Transplant Coordinators, a Vascular Access Nurse, a Clinical Educator, 2 Biomedical Technologists, Dialysis Aides, a Charge Nurse, Nurse Manager and Clerical Staff.  Everyone works so hard simply for our patients. It’s all about the team effort to make things happen in this department.  We share a common vision of providing the best health care possible. I could not succeed in my role without the help of others. 

What is the most challenging part of your profession?

The most challenging part of my role as Nurse Practitioner is providing ever changing complex care.  The needs of each patient’s health care can be complicated and can rapidly change.  This makes the demands of my job high, but also a very exciting role for me.  At times I have to respond quickly and cannot hesitate on my decisions.  The work can be intense. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?

The patients, of course!  Being able to connect with my patients and assist with providing the best care based on their needs and individual wishes carries huge rewards for me.  The Nurse Practitioner role allows me to monitor patient’s conditions and their state of wellness on an ongoing basis.   The more I get to know each patient, the more we can develop a trusting relationship, resulting in better care.   I’m also rewarded daily just by being available to the Health Care team to assist.  Knowing that I am appreciated and that I make a difference each day is truly a gift.  It makes me strive to do better and to always give my best. 

Advice for those considering a career as a Nurse Practitioner:

If you are highly motivated and love to be challenged, being a Nurse Practitioner may be suited for you.  If you like to work with a team and also like being able to make decisions autonomously, then I recommend this role.  Being able to assess patients, order appropriate diagnostic tests, diagnose a problem and implement recommendations toward health promotion to provide positive outcomes for patients is the best.  I’m so glad I have chosen the profession that I have.

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