Each day during Nurse Practitioner Week (November 13-19), we are spotlighting Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to highlight some (but not all!) of the important roles they fulfill at our Hospital and in our community. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Colleen Morrow and Rajesh Talpade.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Public Health Specialization Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner.
Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?
I love caring for patients and enjoy learning and felt that further training provided me the opportunity to work both independently and as a team member. Being a Nurse Practitioner (NP) has rewarded me with increased knowledge, new challenges, and the work is very fulfilling.
Tell us about your role with the hemodialysis program.
I assist with managing their dialysis treatments that change according to their individual needs, including multiple chronic diseases requiring frequent adaptations to the plan of care. The NP role allows me to monitor patient’s conditions and their state of wellness on an ongoing basis.
I work with a fantastic team that includes another NP, five nephrologists, two pharmacists, and a pharmacy technician. Our team also includes dieticians, social workers, skilled registered nurses, biomedical technologists, dialysis aides, and clerical staff. Everyone works hard as a team simply sharing a common vision of providing the best health care for our patients. Collaboration amongst this skilled team has created a culture of fast-paced and ethical care based on patient quality of life.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
The most challenging part of my role as a nurse practitioner is providing complex care that can rapidly change. The demands are high and the role can be intense. This work has honed my decision-making skills and has allowed me to develop interdisciplinary and practical knowledge of patient care.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
The patients, of course! Being able to connect with my patients and assist with providing the best care based on their needs and individual wishes is rewarding. I’m so glad that I have chosen to be a Nurse Practitioner. Knowing that I make a difference in my patients’ lives is a true gift that makes me strive to always do my best.
Do you have any advice for those considering a career as a Nurse Practitioner?
If you are highly motivated and love to be challenged, being an NP may be suited for you. If you like to work with a team and also like being able to make decisions autonomously, then I recommend this role. Being able to assess patients, order appropriate diagnostic tests, diagnose a problem and implement recommendations toward health promotion to provide positive outcomes for patients is the best. I’m so glad that I have chosen to be a nurse practitioner.
Masters of Nursing (NP stream)-distinction from Athabasca University, graduated in 2020.
Having been part of the Emergency Department (ED) family for over 10 years, I wanted to continue providing better support to ED patients seen in my previous role as an RN. I have always been one to advance my practice on a regular basis, be it education, skills development, or in my role as an advanced practitioner. As an NP with the Internal Medicine Clinic (IMC), I have great autonomy, and am able to include a more holistic approach into my care.
What is your role with the Internal Medicine Clinic?
Under the broader umbrella of the IMC, my role as the chronic heart failure (CHF) / chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) NP patient navigator, is to assist patients with chronic disease management (CHF and COPD) better navigate the health care system. This is particularly true for patients who are leaving the hospital with a new diagnosis. Exacerbation of these conditions often result in frequent visits to the ED.
Additionally, I support COPD and CHF patients throughout their hospital admission and at discharge. In collaboration with the patient and their most responsible physician (MRP), I find ways to support admission avoidance and transitions planning by developing a post-discharge plan of care. Using an evidenced-based approach, I work with the patient and their family to set goals, provide education and advocacy, and support the coordination of out-patient medical management and social supports.
I have come to appreciate how difficult it can be for patients seen by me, when they have no community family health care provider, and have only walk-in clinics to rely on. An extension of my role as NP navigator, is to hopefully connect patients with clinics accepting new patients in the community and following up with these patients a little more closely upon discharge.
It is rewarding to see how well patients feel and progress with their chronic conditions after I have intervened in their care while in hospital. This is more a team effort, and I happy to be part of this dynamic team of professionals and allied health members. I’m very fortunate to work with a fantastic group of people, such as attending community physicians, hospitalist physician group, ED nursing staff/management, who are accepting of my role as a nurse practitioner, and consider me a valuable addition to the team.