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.
Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Health -
"Giving nurse practitioners the ability to admit and discharge patients from hospitals will help to both ease congestion and enhance patient quality within the health-care system. This will especially be helpful in rural and remote areas of the province, where recruitment and retention can be particularly challenging."
Rosemary Graham, president, BC Nurse Practitioner Association -
"On behalf of the BC Nurse Practitioner Association, I'd like to thank the government of British Columbia for giving nurse practitioners the ability to admit and discharge patients. This will help to enhance health-care services around British Columbia."
Dr. Amanda Johner, general surgery resident, Vancouver -
"As a physician, I know just how important nurse practitioners are within the health system. Being able to admit and discharge patients will certainly provide a measure of relief to doctors around the province."
For more information on nurse practitioners: www.bcnpa.org