Why did you decide to become a nurse practitioner?
I wanted to add to my education and be able to provide a broader scope of care to my patients. I wanted to be able to bring the medical and the nursing world together and be a primary care provider. I wanted to have core roots in nursing and expand into medicine. I was one of the first NPs in B.C. to be licensed. From a young age I had a close relationship with my general practitioner, so the idea of working with a patient from birth to death appealed to me because I felt that ongoing relationship was very important. I was always more attracted to the nursing world rather than the medical world, so when I had the opportunity to become an NP I took it because it enabled me to link my two core values: nursing and delivering care throughout the lifespan.
How do you feel you help patients the most?
By listening and being open. I offer very low-barrier care, meaning I work where the patient is and listen to their needs. I try not to go in with an agenda. I do patient-centred care, and I try and work with the patient starting at their comfort level. Sometimes that might be helping to connect them to housing and food services before helping with major medical problems such as diabetes. I am always trying to understand the patient’s story and understand their priorities. I have an “open door” philosophy in my work so people know when they are ready to talk about different issues they can always come to see me.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and what is the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is the relationship I have with my patients. That people come back and want to see me again is very rewarding. When someone comes back a second or third time to see me, I know that they are beginning to feel attached — that they can come back and seek the care they need with me.
I’m completely satisfied with my job and love being an NP. The NP profession is still new in B.C., and there is still pioneering to be done. It is important to educate other health-care professionals and patients on the role. I never assume that someone understands my role so I try and make the time to explain. Yet I see this as an opportunity rather than a challenge.
More about Jennifer:
I am very passionate about the profession. If someone is interested in furthering their scope of practice and having an increased level of autonomy, then being an NP is a great role. NPs fill a gap in health care and patients really benefit from the care that NPs provide.
I’ve been a primary care provider at the same Vancouver clinic for 11 years, providing care to marginalized patients with complex medical needs. I am just starting the role of being the NP lead for the health authority I work in. I am also the deputy chief examiner for the NP Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and a quality assurance advisor for NP practice to the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia. As well, I am a clinical lead faculty in the NP master’s program at the University of Northern British Columbia. It’s very common for NPs to wear many hats, as we are pioneering a new profession.