November 8 to 14, 2020 is Nurse Practitioner Week where we celebrate the vital role that Nurse Practitioners play in our health-care system, including here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. In honour of this week, we thought we’d showcase some of our Nurse Practitioners here at CMHA. Here is the profile on Michelle, a Nurse Practitioner on our MOBYSS and Gender Affirming Health Clinic Team.
1. Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?
It was always a goal of mine to become a Nurse Practitioner after graduating from nursing school and a dream as a child to work in the health care field. Caring for the whole person within the framework of family and community really was the driving force behind my decision to pursue this.
Nurse Practitioners have the unique opportunity to develop a different kind of therapeutic relationship with their clients. I valued the autonomy and greater clinical knowledge that Nurse Practitioners have, but also the elements of holistic care that are so often used when supporting our clients and families.
2. What is your Nurse Practitioner work at CMHA? What do you do on a daily basis?
I work as a Nurse Practitioner with our MOBYSS Youth Walk-In Clinic and our Gender Affirming Health Clinic at CMHA. I meet with clients on a daily basis (mostly virtually right now) and provide primary health care services such as assessments, diagnosis and treatment of episodic illnesses, prescriptions, supports for sexual health and gender identity, prenatal health, injuries/wound care and health education. I also provide mental health assessments, addictions support and make referrals to other specialists in the community.
3. What do you love most about being a Nurse Practitioner?
I love meeting the various clients and working with them to establish meaningful positive health and wellness in their lives. It is so humbling to be a part of someone’s health and recovery journey and be witness to a client’s resilience, strength and bravery while they work towards their goals.
4. How has being a Nurse Practitioner changed with COVID?
COVID has certainly presented a bit of a challenge in continuing to provide the same quality of care to our clients. We have successfully adapted by providing telephone and virtual appointments over the computer. We also have had to develop new ways to perform various assessments not being able to be face to face with clients as well. Both our staff and clients have been amazingly flexible and open in accessing this new way of care.
5. What’s something that someone might not know about Nurse Practitioners?
Nurse Practitioners begin their career as a registered nurse, so their client care and approach is quite similar to that of nurses. However, Nurse Practitioners have additional training and knowledge that allows them to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication and perform procedures—somewhat similar to the role of a physician. Currently, there are almost 4,000 Nurse Practitioners working in various health care fields and roles across Ontario.