Alberta spends $3M for 30 nurse practitioners for remote, specialized areas

Province spends $3M for 30 nurse practitioners for remote, specialized areas

EDMONTON — Alberta is hiring up to 30 new nurse practitioners to work in remote areas or places where it’s difficult for patients to see a family doctor.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the new hires will work with family physicians and others in primary care networks.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have taken advanced education and can perform tasks such as setting broken bones, doing checkups, ordering tests and prescribing medications.

Alberta has 600 nurse practitioners, but Shandro says almost all of them work in hospitals or outpatient clinics.

He says the goal is to have them work in areas like Bonnyville, where the primary care network there has 600 patients on a wait list for a doctor.

Anne Summach, with the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta, says she doesn’t see any problem finding 30 practitioners to work away from the major centres given they will have more opportunity to do a broader range of work.

“Some of those nurse practitioners from outlying areas are really excited for this program because it allows them to maybe return to their home community to provide when they haven’t been able to have that full scope of practice until now,” she said Tuesday.

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