Nurse Led Practitioner Clinics provide primary care
Nurse Practitioner Week was celebrated Thursday, Nov. 15 at Ingersoll Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic, recognizing their work as essential team-based care members in the community, servicing Oxford County.
“We are a clinic of four nurse practicioners, two counsellors, chronic disease coordinator and some admin support, that work together as a team to provide primary care to people in Oxford County,” said Sue Tobin, Ingersoll NPLC.
“A lot of people ask us how we’re different from a family doctor. Basically, the difference is that because we’re nurses... we are addressing issues from a nursing perspective.”
That includes prevention and self-management. When a person comes in with high blood pressure, they can write a prescription, order diagnostic tests, refer to specialists, but they also talk about how they can improve their lifestyle.
“And helping them to set goals as well.”
They remind patients who might visit four times a year that their health is their responsibility for the other 361 days. We help them to be healthy on those other days and really make them a true partner.
“I think one of the big bonuses, and the reason that we are able to do this, is that we are salaried. So we don’t bill OHIP. So there isn’t any incentive for us to see more people, there’s no disincentive to not see as many people. We’re all salaried. So we can do what’s best for the patient, and we get paid exactly the same at the end of the day.”
The clinic, one of 26 in the province, is 100 per cent funded by Ministry of Health. The first Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic (NPLC) opened 12 years ago in Sudbury, and the Ingersoll NPLC has been open for seven years.
“We see, right now, about 2,400 patients - that’s just registered patients. We also provide services to non-registered patients,” she said, noting the non-registered patients include addictions and chronic diseases.”
Ingersoll NPLC has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health to open a satellite clinic in Tillsonburg.
“One of the reasons for that is... that area of our county is significantly under-serviced, there’s a lot of unattached patients. So we are looking to provide services there because we have a large number of patients that drive from Tillsonburg and come here. So if we are able to open up a clinic there, we are hoping to be able to take on another 1,200 patients there. We’d also be able to transfer some of our patients from here, and then we’d be able to bring on more people here.” Ingersoll NPLC recently took on another 150 patients, and they are hoping to get another 150 patients in the spring.
“We do not keep a wait list,” she noted.
“What we also don’t do, as a rule, is take people who already have a primary care provider. Unless their primary care provider isn’t accessible, for example if they’re driving to Brampton or driving to Hamilton. Or they don’t drive at all. We’re very much focused on access.”
Extended hours are the norm at Ingersoll NPLC. It opens Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:15 a.m. They stay open to 7-7:30 p.m., depending on the day, allowing people to come in before or after work. The way we manage that with staff is that most of us are on a four-day flexible work week.”
They also manage schedules differently. They leave a certain number of spots, every day, for same-day appointments.
“we know people are going to need them, they’re not going to be able to wait three weeks. we keep that data, and it does vary depending on the week, the month. so we’ve collected that data over the years so that when we schedule we make sure there’s that many spots open. it might be eight spots on a monday in January and it might be two spots on a monday in september.
“anything that is emergent goes to emergency,” said Tobin. “if we have someone call and say they have chest pain, we send them to emergency. There are situations that we need to have a physician see because there are things that are out of our scope, but there is about 90 per cent that is within our scope.”
For the 10 per cent, they have a consulting physician.
There are no fees for patients. ingersoll Nursce Practitioner led Clinic is funded by the primary care division of the ministry of health long term care, which provides operational budget and salaries.
Ingersoll Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic celebrated Nurse Practitioner Week on Nov. 15 at their 19 King Street East, Ingersoll location. From left are (front) Lisa DeLuca, Ashley Gasson, Kelly McKay, Sue Tobin, Christy Kent, Stephanie Nevins, Shannon Hutson, Carrie Lacroix, (back row) Stephanie Collings, Nancy Bradley, Brigita Prskalo-Mantz, Rhonda Heft, Mike Page and Yuriy Ilyin.