November 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 Ursula Danner.
Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?
I worked as an outpost nurse at fly-in communities in Northwestern Ontario for 10 years. Nurse Practitioners were legislated in 1998 and it was a natural career progression for me to pursue this. Because of my outpost nursing training at Dalhousie University, I was able to go through an intensive grand-parenting process with the Ontario College of Nurses. I became a licensed NP in 2000. Before working at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center, I worked as a rural NP in the region and also in palliative care and geriatrics.
Tell us about your role with the Anticoagulation outpatient clinic and COPD telehomecare program?
I monitor and manage patients with new blood clots or with a blood clot history. I also deal with patients on blood thinners who are not stable or who are going for invasive procedures. I monitor and manage patients with severe to end-stage COPD through telehomecare.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
In the very beginning of my NP career, it was a general acceptance of the NP role that was a challenge. However, this is no longer the case. Currently, my greatest challenge is adapting personal videoconferencing and telecommunication technology to my practice to be able to provide virtual visits and monitor patients. It’s also a challenge to get patients comfortable with the technology.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
It is rewarding for me to see how nurse practitioners have become part of an inter-professional team approach to health care. I get great satisfaction when I can provide access to health care for both acute and chronically ill patients. NP responsibilities are increasing and I think this will only enhance patient access to care and provide increased support for specialists and family doctors. I thoroughly enjoy working in this current environment.
Advice for those considering a career as a Nurse Practitioner?
Get a good number of years of challenging RN experiences under your belt first.