Nurse Practitioner Week Spotlight: Kathryn Bill and Jeff Yahn

Kathryn Bill and Jeff Yahn, Nurse Practitioners at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Kathryn Bill and Jeff Yahn, Nurse Practitioners at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

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 Kathryn Bill and Jeff Yahn.

Meet Kathryn Bill

Why did you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner?

I went in to nursing in order to help people and make a difference in their lives for the better. I worked in acute care, primarily in the Intensive Care Unit, for over 17 years before I decided to further my education and become a nurse practitioner (NP). With the vast experiences I have had over my nursing career, I was ready to take the knowledge that I had learned and use it to further make a difference in the lives of patients in Northwestern Ontario.

Tell us about your role with the Internal Medicine Clinic.

As an NP with in the Internal Medicine Clinic (IMC), I manage two similar programs – Telehomecare Programs for Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Using specialized remote monitoring technology, I am able to monitor, manage and treat patients with severe to very severe CHF and moderate to very severe COPD patients from the comfort of their own home, helping to reduce visits to the Emergency Department. These patients are partners in their own health care and, through the program, attain effective self-management strategies. They also have the ability to liaison with a Registered Dietitian for further education.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

The most challenging part of the role is receiving the data from the patients via the telehomecare monitoring system, being able to interpret the data received, determining the relevancy of the information, and knowing how to adjust treatment options further – all without seeing the patient physically in-person.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your profession?

Knowing that I have the skills and judgement to be able to treat the patient and enabling them to self-manage their chronic diseases from the comfort of their own homes is one of the most rewarding aspects.

Do you have any advice for those considering a career as a NP?

I say go for it! It is a challenging profession where you are always learning and growing not only as a nurse, but as a person.

Meet Jeff Yahn

Jeff Yahn is a primary health care Nurse Practitioner working as a specialist in Thrombosis within the Internal Medicine Clinic. In his current role since 2014, he also garnered knowledge and experience in Benign Hematology along with three years as lead of the Telehomecare Heart Failure program. He completed his Bachelor of Nursing degree and Nurse Practitioner designation through Lakehead University in part with the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing with first class standing.

Jeff previously worked as a Registered Nurse including two years in the Neurosurgical ICU at the Ottawa Civic hospital and four years in the ICU at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center. Jeff also holds a Business Degree through Lakehead University and certificate in Critical Care Nursing through Durham College.

Career Retrospective

“Nursing is a diverse and challenging profession with an abundance of opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Over the past eight years, practicing in a specialist role has built a knowledge base from which to form a clear understanding of the health care needs we are presently confronted with. Becoming a nurse practitioner has enabled me to help restore, maintain and advance the health of individuals, groups and communities. Within my role I am able to collaborate with allied health professionals and form close relationships with physicians, fellow colleagues, patients and families.”

“I chose to become a Nurse Practitioner to expand my knowledge base, work independently and provide timely, patient-centered care.”