Nurse Practitioners dedicated to caring for our communities

Pictured: Nurse Practitioners Gabriela Brunetti-Vellego, Megan Glover and Shannon Proctor (Also featured in article: Nurse Practitioners Krissinda Knickle and Amanda Cleveland)

November 7-13 is Nurse Practitioner Week, an annual celebration of Nurse Practitioners which helps raise awareness of the exceptional care they provide across the country.

Nurse practitioners are the health care providers of choice for millions of Canadians each year – thanks to the high-quality, patient-centered primary, acute and specialty care they provide.

In Nova Scotia, there has been significant growth in the role of nurse practitioners in primary care, in addition to those who work in acute care settings. They work as part of collaborative family practice teams, in cancer care, orthopedics, and emergency departments (to name just a few areas).

And globally, advanced practice nursing has been instrumental in improving health outcomes of vulnerable populations and ensuring access to health care, even in the most difficult of circumstances. It’s an incredible responsibility, and one that nurses everywhere take pride in.

Wider reach, bigger impact:

Two months ago, the 11th annual International Council of Nurses' Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Nursing Network Conference was held virtually in Halifax, sponsored by Nova Scotia Health. As one of the largest international meetings held on advanced practice nursing, this conference brought together more than 1,000 nurses along with decision-makers, researchers, educators, administrators, policymakers, and students from around the world.  More than 75 nurse practitioners from Nova Scotia Health were able to attend through the provincial nursing strategy.

With the theme of Envisioning Advanced Practice Nursing Beyond 2021, the conference provided the opportunity to learn, share experiences, and reflect on the importance of nursing and the leadership role advanced care nursing has in our health care systems – today and into the future.

To learn more, we recently had the opportunity to speak with four nurse practitioners who are practicing in locations around the province about their conference experience.

Megan Glover: Megan is a newly graduated nurse practitioner. She is currently practicing with the Community Health and Wellness Centre team in North and East Preston.

Tell us about your experience at the ICN NP/APN Network Conference:
I really enjoyed the packed agenda of relevant topics and communicating with healthcare providers all over the world.

What were some of the takeaways that you will use in your practice?
I implemented an improved algorithm to help older women age well through menopause and beyond. I have also adjusted how I screen and care for children in my practice with ADHD and post-concussive syndrome, and how I manage chronic pain safely. 

Who inspires you?
My patients inspire me and they are the reason I LOVE what I do. I am always reading and attending workshops to be the best provider I can be, but where I learn my most valuable knowledge is through building relationships and getting to know my patients and their families.

Gabriela Brunetti-Vellego: Gabriela has worked as a nurse practitioner since 2018. She has a 50/50 spilt position between the Digby Collaborative Family Practice and Island Health Centre in Freeport, and sees around 730 patients of all ages.

Tell us about your experience at the ICN NP/APN Network Conference:
It was inspiring, as we were able to have multiple opportunities to discuss APN roles around the world, along with nursing perspectives, education, healthcare, and barriers to the profession.

What were some of the takeaways that you will use in your practice?
The nurse science and nurse perspective are both at the core of my practice as an NP, and I was glad to confirm that other APNs follow the same principle. The conference showed me that we may be small, but we are mighty and our future is bright.

Who inspires you?

What inspires me is the possibly to work with others, improving their health and their quality of life. I love being a NP in rural setting; I am part of the community and I want my community to be healthier.

Krissinda Knickle: Krissinda has been in her current role as a nurse practitioner since 2009. She works at Lunenburg Family Health with a team of six other physicians, a family practice nurse and a clinical therapist.

Tell us about your experience at the ICN NP/APN Network Conference:
There were lots of wonderful and inspiring speakers, and I was able to meet many people all around the world. 

What were some of the takeaways that you will use in your practice?
I have decided to work on developing group medical visits focused on obesity, update myself on new contraceptive options, and how to develop a personal strategic plan.  It reminded me why I went into this profession.  I love to learn new things and see how it benefits my patients and my community.

Who inspires you?

My patients and their families inspire me.  I love it when we can work together, come up with a plan specific to them and surround them with a team in the community to promote health and disease prevention. Knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of others is what makes me love this job.

Shannon Proctor: Shannon is a nurse practitioner who sees patients of all ages. She works in the Springhill Primary Care Clinic collaborative practice with two other nurse practitioners and three physicians.

Tell us about your experience at the ICN NP/APN Network Conference:
The presenters were passionate, and very knowledgeable. It was interesting to learn about the unique challenges experienced by practitioners around the world and the solutions devised to meet those challenges.

What were some of the takeaways that you will use in your practice?
Firstly, there are practical takeaways such as application of new guidelines in practice. Secondly, in a more broad and long-term perspective, working to develop the role of NPs through seeking out opportunities to be involved in policy development and advocating for new roles for NPs, so we may work to our full scope and have a greater impact on the future of healthcare.

Who or what inspires you?

I have so many patients who are inspiring. I love the science of health but more so the ability to help someone become as healthy and happy as they can be.

Amanda Cleveland: Amanda has worked at a nurse practitioner in primary healthcare for 10 years. She started with a family practice in Timberlea in 2018, and prior to that, she worked as a critical care flight nurse with LifeFlight.

Tell us about your experience at the ICN NP/APN Network Conference:
I found the virtual platform to be an amazing way to attend and connect with advanced practice nurses from around the world.  I was impressed with the representation from every corner of the world. 

What were some of the takeaways that you will use in your practice?
The main takeaways for me were from advanced practice nurses in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and South Africa. They impressed upon me the need for us to continue to advocate for our profession and also have more nurses involved in politics and to have a “seat at the table” when stakeholders meet.

Who or what inspires you?

My family, patients and colleagues inspire me daily.  When I started my studies to become an NP, and again had a nursing philosophy course, I realized how inspirational Florence Nightengale is, her theories are still applicable, and her determination something to emulate.  I also find people such as the late Steve Jobs inspiring, I admire his determination and ability to try to think outside the box and challenge the status quo.    

For more information on the role of nurse practitioners, visit the Nova Scotia Health nurse practitioner page.