A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a nurse with advanced university education who works both independently and in collaboration with other health professionals to provide patients and families with quality health care services. Ontario has more than 2,000 Nurse Practitioners who work in a diverse range of community and hospital settings across the province.
We asked a few members of the NP team at our Hospital to share thoughts about their role and experience. This week, we’re featuring Sherry Minnella.
Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?
Throughout my career I have always aimed to expand my knowledge to better help those I care for. My experiences working in the Emergency department and in remote northern communities have made me more aware of the unique health care needs of those living in Northwestern Ontario. As such, I wanted to understand health care issues with an enhanced knowledge to be better able to care for those in my community.
Tell us about your role with the Paediatric Healthy Living Program?
The Paediatric Healthy Living Program is a holistic, family centered approach to weight management for children, adolescents and their families. In my role, I conduct ongoing medical assessments of children and adolescents throughout the duration of the program. I screen for weight related co-morbidities through physical assessments and diagnostic tests. I work collaboratively with an interprofessional team and family members to develop realistic goals and treatment plans for weight management. Our team includes a Dietitian, Kinesiologist, Social Worker, Psychologist and Paediatrician.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
The most challenging part of my profession is providing care to individuals living in underserviced remote and rural communities. Many of these children and their families do not have the same access to care or community supports as those living in larger communities. Although technology such as telehealth has improved access to care it does not replace the value of face to face interactions.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
The most rewarding part of working as a NP is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children and families that I care for. I have the opportunity to support and educate others to make healthy lifestyle choices that will have a positive impact on their health and well being throughout their lifetime.
Advice for those considering a career as a Nurse Practitioner?
Don’t second guess yourself. If you are thinking about becoming a NP go for it! Also, if you have the opportunity I would suggest working in a variety of health care settings such as emergency departments, public health, cardiology etc. These experiences will give you a strong foundation of knowledge and assessment skills to successfully complete the NP program.