Nurse Practitioners make a difference in rural primary care family practices

There are a lot of things I love about nursing - I love establishing relationships with the patients I care for; I love that I can make a difference in the lives of my patients, their families and their communities.

I work in a primary care family practice in a rural setting.  We care for patients and their families throughout their entire lifespan from pregnancy, childbirth, childhood checkups, and well-baby checkups right through to the end. As well as every other aspect of health, illness and prevention that exists.  We also do a fair bit of coordinating of care, navigating the system with complex conditions, and involving different specialists or different clinics when needed. In a family practice we often have multiple generations of a family in our care at one time – it’s very rewarding to be able to help an entire family.

Nurse practitioners spend more time with patients than many other health care providers are able to. This gives us the chance to really listen to them, get to know them, and do a lot more teaching.  Through education and coaching we can help them to change their lives for the better – we help them move towards healthier lifestyles, and teach them how to maintain those changes.  The work of a Nurse Practitioner is definitely relationship-centered. I think my relationships with my patients and their families are what keep people coming back to me.

I am totally passionate about my job because I can really make a difference in the world each and every day. Caring and empathy are essential; you have to be able to understand where the person is coming from and then take a holistic approach to their care.  Putting the patient first is the whole purpose of nursing. There is definitely science behind every minute of my work.  You can’t be a registered nurse without your knowledge base and for NP’s there is an even deeper, broader and more specialized knowledge with more responsibility.

I’m very proud of my job, I’m very proud of the nursing profession and I’m proud of the Nurse Practitioner movement that has gone on in Saskatchewan over the last decade.

Debbie Bathgate, RN(NP)