EDMONTON – Albertans will gain more access to primary care with the hiring of up to 25 more nurse practitioners (NPs).
Alberta’s government is providing $3.1 million for Phase 2 of the Primary Care Network (PCN) NP Support Program. The program is designed to increase the number of NPs in the health system and provide more access to timely care.
“Primary care is the foundation of a high-performing health system, and nurse practitioners are an under-used resource,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health.
“Funding more NPs as part of the PCN team makes better use of the expertise of NPs to increase access, especially in rural and underserved locations where the need is greatest.”
There are about 730 NPs in Alberta. They currently work in Alberta Health Services or PCNs.
NPs are experienced registered nurses with advanced education who can diagnose and treat patients, providing services like ordering tests and prescribing medications.
The NP support program began in 2019 to improve access to primary care, especially in high demand areas. There were 24 new full-time NPs hired in Phase 1. An additional 27 NPs were grandfathered from previous programs for a total of 51 NPs currently in the program.
Alberta’s government is committed to supporting NPs to work to the full scope of their skills and knowledge. Examples of recent changes include:
- Updating ambulance regulations to allow NPs to work as medical directors and provide real-time medical advice to paramedics.
- Allowing NPs to act as independent primary care providers in nursing homes.
- Authorizing NPs to complete driver medical examination forms.