This project evaluated the integration of a nurse practitioner (NP) into a busy collaborative community health centre serving a socially and economically marginalized population in downtown Calgary. Nurses, physicians, dentists, chiropractors, and an orthotics technician formed the interdisciplinary team at the clinic, which provides care for about 13,000 client visits a year. Central to the project was the question of whether or not the skills and knowledge of a nurse practitioner, who is traditionally trained to work in isolated rural settings, could be transferred to an inner-city setting. The study found that the NP significantly increased access to care. The number of clients who had to be turned away decreased by 40 per cent and outreach to other settings increased. Also, because the NP was able to deal with patients who did not require the attention of a physician, physicians were able to spend more time with patients who needed their level of care.
The full report for this project is available on the Alberta Health and Wellness web site at http://www.health.gov.ab.ca/system/key/phc/projects/Calgary/CUPS/description.htm
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.