Northern Health has hired seven new nurse practitioners to work in rural communities. As primary health care providers, the nurse practitioners work with physicians and registered nurses to bring quality care to remote communities.
The District of Mackenzie is home to one of the newest recruits, Lisa Creelman. After working in the Lower Mainland for 9 years as a registered nurse, Creelman moved to Prince George to go back to school and get her masters of Science in nursing. Upon graduation, she took a job in Mackenzie as a nurse practitioner.
“I absolutely loved being a nurse. I loved the role. And then when I learned about nurse practitioners I couldn’t think of doing anything else. It was just sort of the next step for me. I work collaboratively with the physicians in the office, the medical support staff as well as public health and the other areas here. And we basically work together to provide good primary health care to the residents of Mackenzie.”
As a nurse practitioner, Creelman treats patients with a cold or injury, addresses health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes, and can write prescriptions. However, unlike a physician she does not perform surgery.
“I came up to Mackenzie for my final internship and basically fell in love with the quality of life here. People here are so welcoming. They threw a barbecue when I was up here as a student and it’s just an amazing place to be.”
Lisa Creelman is just one of seven nurse practitioners to take a position in a rural community. Others have moved to Chetwynd, Burns Lake, Quesnel, and Fort St John. There are still 11 vacant nurse practitioner positions within northern health. Lead Nurse Practitioner with Northern Health, Helen Bourque, says new nurse practitioners will help provide primary care to everyone living in Northern Health’s region.
“These are providers who are going to live and stay in the community for hopefully a number of years. And will become integrated into that community and provide services for many years to come. We have had a number of vacancy’s for nurse practitioners over the years. And we now have an opportunity to really work on recruitment and retention of vacant positions.”
Creelman, most looking forward to getting to work in such a tight-knit community.
“I think you get to know your community a lot more when it’s smaller. These are the same people that you seen when you’re out on the streets and everybody works together to have better health.”
Building a healthy community is just what Creelman intends to do.