Need a Family Practice Registry Coordinator: Stephanie Goodwin

Stephanie Goodwin
Stephanie Goodwin, Need a Family Practice Registry Coordinator

If you have received a call or email from NSHA’s Stephanie Goodwin, you are likely on the receiving end of some positive news about your own health care. 

Stephanie is one of more than 10 people on the Need a Family Practice Registry team in Nova Scotia who are connecting registrants with either a physician or a nurse practitioner who are taking on patients. 

The job can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Goodwin makes about 30 to 50 calls a day trying to reach people (an email or letter will often follow an initial phone call). However she also has the pleasure of delivering some much-anticipated information – that a local health care provider has capacity to add more patients to their practice.

“People are waiting for a family physician or nurse practitioner and have reached out to put their name on the need a family practice registry,” she said. “So the best part of my day is when I’m giving them that great news. I get a lot of excitement – people telling me I’ve made their day – I’ve even had registrants cry with relief.”

The registry works on a first-come, first-served basis, and it is constantly changing as people’s circumstances change. In August 1,363 people were placed with family practices through the registry or removed as they no longer required a family practice,

That number may reflect a summer lull, said Kathy Bell, Director, Primary Health Care, Eastern Zone. The number fluctuates monthly based on the capacity of primary care providers (family physicians and nurse practitioners) to add people to their practice.

“On average the number per month that we know of that find a family physician or nurse practitioner is 2,000,” Bell said. “We gratefully acknowledge that other family physicians in the province are adding people to their practices too—not all practices report their list to the registry team.

NSHA would welcome receiving their information as it assists in keeping the list of people in the registry current, she said.

“It is a living, breathing database,” Goodwin said. “We have people calling to let us know they’ve found a health care provider through a different avenue, or we will reach out with the offer of a provider and they have moved to a different community. New people are added and come off the list every day.” People can also register or take their name off the registry by going online.

She added that if you are without a regular primary care provider and haven’t registered through the website, or by calling 811, you should make it a priority. 

“If you haven’t registered, we don’t know about you, we can’t help you,” she said. “It’s extremely important – even if you are young and without health issues – you should still register in case that changes. The more people we know about, the more NSHA can work with others to ensure the proper resources are in place.”