Student nurse practitioners (NPs) are receiving hands-on learning experience in communities across Ontario – particularly in rural, remote and Northern regions. They gain practice in primary health-care delivery to under-serviced communities and, as many often end up working in the regions where they’re placed, they fill an important gap in the province’s health-care system.
Many student NPs receive these work-integrated learning opportunities through the Ontario Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) program, an advanced nursing education program that graduates 72 per cent of all Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in the province. It makes the most efficient use of scarce resources, such as, faculty, course development, curriculum and an online distance education hub through a partnership between nine Ontario universities: Lakehead University, Laurentian University, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, Western University, University of Windsor and York University.
More than 2,300 nurse practitioner students have graduated since the PHCNP program began in 1995, and up to 200 students graduate each year.
NPs help alleviate the burden of hallway health care by practicing in under-serviced communities, diverting non-acute cases away from overcrowded emergency rooms, treating long-term care resident issues before they become acute and fast-tracking non-urgent cases in hospitals to move patients through the system quickly.
They are primary health-care providers, who often work with other local health professionals to provide a team-based approach to health-care delivery. The percentage of clinical placements per employment sector reflects employment growth with many students finding placements in community-based primary care organizations, hospitals and long-term care – areas experiencing the largest growth. In fact, more than 1,200 employers across the province depend on Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners. As a result, these students have a 98 per cent employment rate in Ontario. Within the last year, there were more than 330 job postings for Nurse Practitioners across Ontario – up more than 60 postings from the previous year
For more information about the program, visit the PHCNP website.