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5 things to know about nurse practitioners

By Medisys on September 01 2020 | Virtual Healthcare

If you’ve used Akira by TELUS Health for a virtual medical consult, you’ve probably already connected with one of our Nurse Practitioners (NPs) — 40% of our clinicians have this designation, but a lot of Canadians don’t know a lot about what an NP does or can do.

Did you know that Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have a graduate degree, clinical experience, and have completed license examinations? All of our clinicians are Canadian and licensed to practice within the provinces and territories where they work, but NPs can practice medicine autonomously, write prescriptions, make referrals, diagnose and treat illness.

Here are five things to know about Nurse Practitioners:

1. They have advanced education and clinical experience.

Prospective Nurse Practitioners must complete a four-year nursing degree and have a minimum of two years of clinical experience as Registered Nurses (in most jurisdictions). Successful NP candidates then complete an additional two years of full-time education and must pass their NP examinations in order to practice.


2. They can practice autonomously.

As independent practitioners, NPs provide a wide range of general medical advice in areas including pregnancy-related concerns, pediatric growth and development questions, over-the counter medication guidance, travel medicine, sun safety questions, and general patient education. They can also triage all symptoms appropriately.


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3. They can write prescriptions, request imaging and lab work, and make referrals.

Nurse Practitioners can provide new prescriptions for the treatment of a wide range of issues, such as infections, mental health concerns, blood pressure and cholesterol management, osteoarthritis, dermatological issues, and more. They can also refill existing prescription (excluding narcotics) made by other healthcare professionals.

NPs can also complete referrals for medical imaging (x-ray, ultrasounds, etc.), and specialists (neurologists, physiotherapists, dermatologists, cardiologists, etc.), as well as request lab work and analyze results. When appropriate, in-person consultations are recommended prior to referrals; some of those instances include MRIs and CT scans.

4. They specialize in managing chronic conditions and conducting holistic health assessments.

Nurse Practitioner education focuses on the management of chronic conditions and holistic health assessment, including screening for risk, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of illnesses, as well as health promotion. This robust training makes NPs an excellent first line of defence against illness and disease.

Like many health practitioners, NPs can have various specialties such as mental health, pediatrics, travel medicine, and acute care. Akira’s NPs work closely together, lean on each other’s specialties, and consult with the team’s in-house specialists to provide the best possible care to their patients.

5. They provide all types of support.

Akira by TELUS Health’s team of Nurse Practitioners provide a broad range of support for Canadians when they need it the most. Trained to have a holistic approach, they consider every factor when providing a diagnosis and treatment plan. Many of the NPs available on TELUS Health’s virtual care solution specialize in helping patients suffering from depression and anxiety through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques and identifying community resources.

Nurse Practitioners take care of their patients to the fullest extent, providing general medical advice, writing prescriptions or referrals, and following up with patients a few days later to see how they are doing or how their medication is working. Akira by TELUS Health’s team of NPs provide a level of care that consistently earns positive, grateful feedback from patients across the country.


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