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Kelsey MacPhee, RN, MN, NP

Prince Edward Island

Why did you decide to become a nurse practitioner?
When I was in nursing school, they asked everyone in the class who was planning on doing their master’s to raise their hand. I put my hand up right away — I always knew I would further my education. When it came time to decide what to do for a master’s, the NP program appealed to me so much because it took me to the next level, offering autonomy as well as hands-on care. Becoming an NP helped me to get more medical knowledge but still from a nursing perspective, such as looking at things with a client-centred approach.

When I first entered the workforce, I always wanted to work in the ICU as an RN, so I had to work on a general floor, then took the ICU course, then two years after that I decided to go back to get my master’s. I worked as an RN for three years before I went back to do my master’s.

How do you feel you help patients the most?
I think one of the things I do the best with patients is to help them learn more about their illness or disease process. The more I can teach patients, the more they understand, and the more they can help themselves through the process — allowing them to be in charge, with a lot of empowerment. By educating the patient on their illness and treatment, this helps them understand themselves throughout the process and really be involved.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and what is the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect is when I can see a patient really take charge of their own health through the information and education they have received. An example would be a patient who has COPD that we have been talking to about the importance of taking their puffer — and then finally the lightbulb goes on and they understand the importance of everything and their health starts to change. That is very rewarding for me.

I think the most challenging aspect is that NPs are still new in P.E.I., so sometime there is still a lot of misconception about the role and scope of the NP. It can be frustrating to explain the role of NPs to those working in the health-care system and to patients. For the first year of my job, many members of the health care team struggled with understanding my role. They have all come on board very well and now understand the NP’s role. Now it is patients who we are still explaining our role to on a day-to-day basis, but as they understand our role they become our number one fan and supporter.

More about Kelsey:
In February 2016, I went on a month-long trip to Rwanda and volunteered at a hospital and two medical centres, working on policy and education for the nursing staff. My focus was on increasing physical assessment skills for the internal medicine nurses. My mother is an RN and she came with me. It was amazing to work together with her and with the nursing staff in Rwanda.