December 15, 2022

Nurse Practitioners: The essential difference

“As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul, and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  – Maya Angelou

This is Nurse Practitioner Week. The theme this year is, ‘Nurse Practitioners, the essential difference in healthcare.’

Nurse Practitioners provide advanced practice in many specialties, and can assess, diagnose and treat patients including prescribe medications. They assist by not only improving access to timely care but help reduce waiting times, decrease recurrent admissions and provide holistic care. An important part of their role is providing mentorship and clinical expertise to other health professionals.

The nurse practitioner profession started in 1965 in the United States in response to the increasing demand for primary care providers. The first nurse practitioner program (NP) was launched at the University of Colorado in 1965 by NP pioneers Loretta Ford and Henry Silver. It started as a certificate program, but in the early 1970s, the university upgraded it to a full master’s degree program.

Primarily focused on paediatrics, it soon expanded to other areas, including family NP programs and adult NP programs.

Vicki Malamatinas, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery NP, here at Northern Health says, “At Northern Health, we are fortunate to have a number of NPs that work in many different speciality areas and provide outstanding care to patients, families and the community.”

Currently we have NPs that work in ED, stroke, heart failure, plastics, oncology, palliative care, diabetes, neonates, mental health, haematology and age care.

We also have nurse practitioner candidates in ED, haematology, endoscopy, pain service and diabetes.

Linda Romano, Divisional Director Nursing, Surgical Services & Access, says “Nurse Practitioners play an important role at Northern Health. Their work is pivotal in saving theatre time for critical cases.”

Here’s to all our Nurse Practitioners and future NPs at Northern Health and the outstanding care they bring to the organisation and our community!